Swimming Canada has named their annual year-end awards for 2019, with Kylie Masse once again earning Female Swimmer of the Year honors. To no one’s surprise, Maggie MacNeil was awarded Breakout Swimmer of the Year, and Aurelie Rivard and Aly Van Wyck-Smart were named Para Swimmer and Para Breakout Swimmer of the Year as well.
Markus Thormeyer earns Male Swimmer of the Year for the second straight year.
Kylie Masse, Female Swimmer of the Year
After a steady ascent over the last few years, Masse kept her foot on the gas in 2019. The 23-year-old won her second consecutive world title in the women’s 100 backstroke, becoming the first Canadian to successfully defend one. Since winning bronze at the 2016 Olympics, she remains perfect in the event in major international finals, also winning the 2018 Commonwealth Games and Pan Pacific Championship titles in addition to the two world golds.
The LaSalle, Ont., native added two bronze medals in Gwangju, placing third in the 200 back and the women’s 4×100 medley relay.
Markus Thormeyer, Male Swimmer of the Year
Read about Thormeyer’s year here.
Maggie MacNeil, Breakout Swimmer of the Year
MacNeil had an incredible year in 2019, tearing up both the NCAA and then the World Championships seemingly out of nowhere.
As a freshman with Michigan, MacNeil put everyone on notice with some very fast early season swims, and then at the NCAA Championships in March, had a very strong meet highlighted by an individual runner-up finish in the 100 butterfly.
The London, Ont., native then shocked both the country and the world of swimming by winning World Championship gold in the 100 fly over world record holder and reigning Olympic champion Sarah Sjostrom. MacNeil, 19, added two bronze medals on relays to cap an incredible breakout year.
Aurelie Rivard, Para Swimmer of the Year
Rivard, a three-time Paralympic champion, claims her fourth Para Swimmer of the Year award on the heels of a five-medal effort at the Para World Championships in September. The 23-year-old’s haul included a pair of golds in the S10 50 and 100 free, giving her a total of 14 world podiums throughout her career.
The success in London led her to be nominated for a third Paralympic Games appearance in 2020.
Aly Van Wyck-Smart, Breakout Para Swimmer of the Year
In a year where she went from provincial standout to World medalist and world record holder, Aly Van Wyck-Smart is the inaugural winner of Breakout Para Swimmer of the Year.
The 17-year-old made her Para World debut in London, winning silver and bronze in the S2 100 and 50 backstroke respectively, both in Canadian Record time. Earlier in the year at the Canadian Trials in April, the Toronto native also set the world record in the SM2 150 IM.
Like Rivard, Van Wyck-Smart has been nominated for the 2020 Para Games.