The who’s who of swimming in Australia will swap their costumes and caps for ball gowns and black ties when they gather in Brisbane on Saturday night for the 2016 Hancock Prospecting Swimmer of the Year Awards.
The stars of the pool will parade down the blue carpet from 2pm at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre as they celebrate 2015 and a year to remember just 12 months out from the Rio Olympics and Paralympics.
Australia has had another outstanding year in the pool with its three representative teams all excelling on the world stage.
The Australian Dolphins Swim Team, under the direction of National Head Coach Jacco Verhaeren finished their FINA World Championships campaign in Kazan with seven gold, three silver and six bronze – for a total of 16 medals.
The Dolphins finished second on the gold and overall medal tallies to the USA at a meet where 22 countries won medals.
The eight-day meet saw Mitch Larkin (100 and 200m backstroke), Bronte Campbell (50 and 100m freestyle) and Emily Seebohm (100 and 200m backstroke) all win double gold as well as the women’s 4x100m freestyle relay team of Seebohm, Bronte and Cate Campbell and Emma McKeon who continued their golden reign.
In the process the team set a total of six Commonwealth records and 10 Australian records and recorded 26 personal best times and 43 season best times.
Australia’s open water Dolphins, with former Olympian and surf champion Ron McKeon in charge also fought hard in Kazan as they sought Olympic qualification in the 10km event with 16-year-old Sunshine Coaster Chelsea Gubecka posting the team’s best performance with her 13th just three places shy of gaining an automatic Rio place.
Simon Huitenga in 15th and George O’Brien 28th were the best of the men with our Open Water warriors set to fight another day, as the Olympic qualification process continues in Portugal next year.
The Australian Paralympic swim team, with triple Olympian Adam Pine at the helm, won nine gold, eight silver and 13 bronze from the IPC World Championships in Glasgow setting three new world records, 47 personal best times and a remarkable 75 season best times with Ellie Cole and Maddie Elliottboth back in world record-breaking form.
While the Australian Junior Team, who have Olympic silver medallist Glenn Beringen in charge, continued to unearth emerging international talent with new world junior record holder Minna Atherton and freestyle sprint prince Kyle Chalmers among the stars of a team that topped the medal tally with nine gold, six silver and three bronze medals at the FINA World Junior Championships in Singapore.
Chalmers, who also made his Dolphins team debut in Kazan, winning a silver medal as a relay alternate in the men’s 4x100m medley relay, won seven medals – three gold, three silver and one bronze, while Atherton won six medals, three gold and three silver.
The Juniors set four new junior world records, one junior world championship record, seven new Australian Age records, 58 personal bests and 61 Season Best times.
The 2015 Australian Swimmer of the Year will be the 26th presentation of the prestigious award, first named in 1990 and won by Commonwealth Games gold medallist Glen Housman.
Since then names like Hayley Lewis, Kieren Perkins, Susie O’Neill, Ian Thorpe, Grant Hackett, Jodie Henry, Leisel Jones, Libby Trickett, Stephanie Rice, Jessicah Schipper, Alicia Coutts, James Magnussen and Cate Campbell have all been honoured as the coveted Australian Swimmer of the Year.
Leading the top award is Australia’s most successful Olympian Thorpe, who won the Award on five occasions, including 2003 when he shared the honour with Grant Hackett, who won it again in 2005.
Dual Olympic champion Kieren Perkins won the Award three times between 1992 and 1994 while Cate Campbell has won the top gong the last two years.
All-in-all female athletes have won the Award nine times, while the men have taken it out on six occasions.
There will be a host of awards presented on the night including the:
– Speedo Golden Moment of the Year
– Services to the Australian Swim Team presented by Speedo
– Volunteer of the Year
– Roger Smith Technical Official of the Year
– People’s Choice Award
– Hancock Prospecting Swimmer’s Swimmer of the Year
– Age Group Coach of the Year
– Open Water Coach of the Year
– The Brisbane Convention Centre Club of the Year
– Hancock Prospecting Paralympic Program Coach of the Year
– Hancock Prospecting Olympic Program Coach of the Year
– AIS Discovery of the Year
– Open Water Swimmer of the Year
– Paralympic Swimmer of the Year
– Olympic Program Swimmer of the Year and the;
– 2015 Hancock Prospecting Swimmer of the Year
The Australian Swimmer of the Year Honour Roll
1990 Glen Housman
1991 Hayley Lewis
1992 Kieren Perkins
1993 Kieren Perkins
1994 Kieren Perkins
1995 Susie O’Neill
1996 Susie O’Neill
1997 Michael Klim
1998 Michael Klim
1999 Ian Thorpe
2000 Ian Thorpe
2001 Ian Thorpe
2002 Ian Thorpe
2003 Ian Thorpe
2004 Jodie Henry
2005 Grant Hackett
2006 Leisel Jones
2007 Libby Lenton
2008 Stephanie Rice
2009 Jessicah Schipper
2010 Alicia Coutts
2011 James Magnussen
2012 Alicia Coutts
2013 Cate Campbell
2014 Cate Campbell
Swimming news courtesy of Swimming Australia.