The 2017 Swimming Australia Gala Awards Dinner was held this past Sunday on October 29 in Adelaide, South Australia.
Here is the complete list of winners:
Olympic Program Swimmer of the Year: Emily Seebohm
To no surprise, Emily Seebohm brought home one of the most prestigious awards of the night. After a disappointing individual performance in Rio 2016, she overcame endometriosis and showed her true potential in the 2017 FINA World Championships. Seebohm defended her 200m backstroke title with a new AUS and Championship record with a 2:05.68. She also picked up a bronze medal in the 100m backstroke and another bronze in the 4x100m medley relay. Seebohm won this award in 2015.
Paralympic Program Swimmer of the Year, Rowan Crothers
Crothers made his Paralympic debut in Rio 2016. He placed within top 6 in his four events: 400m free S10, 100m free S10, 50m free S10, and the men’s 4x100m freestyle relay.
Hancock Prospecting Swimmer’s Swimmer of the Year: Emma McKeon
Emma McKeon wins Australia’s World Championships MVP. McKeon won six medals in this year’s Championships. She won individual silver medals in the 100m butterfly and 200m free with her other silver medals coming from the mixed 4x100m medley and women’s 4x100m freestyle relays. Her two bronze medals were in the women’s 4x200m freestyle and 4x100m medley relays. Mckeon was voted by her peers for this award.
Open Water Swimmer of the Year: Chelsea Gubecka
Chelsea Gubecka was Australia’s sole female open water competitor in Rio 2016. She managed to get 15th in the 10km. Gubecka won the open water 10k event at the 2017 Australian National Open Water Championships. Her latest open water stint was in Budapest when she finished 9th in both the 10km and 25km in a field similar to Rio.
Short Course Swimmer of the Year: Mitch Larkin
While Larkin contributes to Swimming Australia’s long course meets such as the Olympics and World Championships, he was recognized for his stellar performance at short course World Championships in December 2016. Despite a knee injury, he won his third consecutive title in the 100 backstroke.
Hancock Prospecting Olympic Program Coach of the Year: David Lush
How fitting that the Olympic program coach of the year is the coach of the Olympic program swimmer of the year. Lush has coached Emily Seebohm just over two years now at Brisbane Grammar.
Hancock Prospecting Paralympic Program Coach of the Year: Rob Van Der Zant
Van Der Zant is an Olympian himself competing for Australia in the Sydney 2000 Games. He coaches Paralympian Rowan Crothers at Yeronga Park.
Open Water Coach of the Year: Michael Sage
Sage becomes the third coach to win the identical award as his swimmer. He coaches the open water swimmer of the year, Chelsea Gubecka.
Youth Coach of the Year: Dean Boxall
Boxall comes from St Peters Western and has been making a name for himself with rising stars such as Ariarne Titmus and Jack Cartwright.
Mrs. Gina Rinehart Patron Awards: Lakeisha Patterson, Emma McKeon
This is McKeon’s second win of the night.
Paralympian Lakeisha Patterson set a new world record in the 400m free S8 and a world record in the 4x100m freestyle relay in Rio. She also won silver medals in the 50m free, 100m free, and 4x100m medley relays and a bronze medal in 200m individual medley.
Optus Community Award: Josh Beaver
Beaver made his Olympic debut in Rio 2016 competing in the 100m and 200m backstroke. His teammates and club mention he’s always looking for ways to give back to the sport.
Optus Club of the Year: Bunbury Swimming Club
Bunbury wins Australia’s top dog of the year for their innovation when implementing new programs. The club will win an athlete visit and $2,000. It’s located in Bunbury, Western Australia, just south of Perth.
Optus Local Legend of the Year: Tracey Rowell
Rowell from the Australian island state of Tasmania wins the local legend award for being the state’s technical official.
Roger Smith Technical Official of the Year: Damien van de Berg
Van de Berg has been officiating for over two decades and is an official FINA Open Water Swimming Referee.
AIS Discovery of the Year: Shayna Jack
Jack is an 18-year-old emerging sprinter training next to some of Australia’s best of the best – the Campbell sisters. She won four medals – two silver and two bronze – in Budapest this year swimming in the 4x100m free, 4x200m free, 4x100m medley, and 4x100m mixed medley relays.
Services to Australian Swim Team: Rhys Mainstone, Richard Eliason, Teigan Van Roosmalen
Marathon open water swimmer Mainstone and Paralympians Eliason and Van Roosmalen all took home the services to Australian Swim Team award.