Swimming Canada has wrapped up their annual awards by naming Emma O’Croinin and Joshua Liendo the Female and Male Junior Swimmers of the Year.
The two athletes had standout 2019s that saw them qualify for both the World Junior and senior World Championships.
“It was all a little surreal,” O’Croinin told Swimming Canada. “Just going there and being part of the team, it was hard to wrap my head around how cool it all was.”
The 16-year-old Edmonton Keyano product had a breakout performance at the Canadian Trials in April, qualifying her for the World Championships in Gwangju where her prelim swim earned her a medal on the women’s 4×200 freestyle relay.
She followed up one month later in August with a three-medal haul at the World Juniors in Budapest, including an individual silver in the 400 free and a bronze in the 200 free.
O’Croinin’s coach Paul Birmingham was also named the Junior Coach of the Year.
Liendo, 17, was named to the Worlds team after taking second at Trials in the men’s 100 butterfly and ended up swimming the fly leg on the men’s medley relay along with the 50 fly individually in Gwangju.
In Budapest, he matched O’Croinin with three medals, including an individual silver in the 100 free.
Winning the award came as a surprise to Liendo, who competes for the North York Aquatic Club.
“I wasn’t expecting this,” he said. “It shows me all my hard work paid off.”