Olympic champions Kyle Chalmers and Mack Horton, Open water swimmers Chelsea Gubecka and Jarrod Poort, and Paralympic golden girl Maddison Elliott were the big winners from Swimming Australia’s Gala Dinner in Brisbane tonight.
The who’s who of the pool converged on the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre for the sport’s night of nights – featuring members of both the Olympic and Paralympic teams.
Adelaide’s 18-year-old Chalmers was named the Olympic Program Swimmer of the Year and his historic win in the 100m freestyle also earned the Golden Moment of the Year.
Chalmers became the first Australian since Michael Wenden in Mexico in 1968 to win the blue ribband 100m freestyle gold and the fourth Australian alongside Wenden, Jon Henricks (1956) and John Devitt (1960) to win the 100m freestyle at an Olympic Games.
Chalmers was also pivotal in Australia’s bronze medal winning performances in the 4x100m freestyle and medley relays.
Melbourne’s 20-year-old Horton, who won the 400m freestyle gold in Rio, received the prestigious Swimmers’ Swimmer of the Year – voted on by the athletes - while 18-year-old Elliott was crowned the Paralympic Program Swimmer of the Year.
Horton showed composure and stamina to win the men’s 400 metres freestyle on the opening night of the Games and maturity and leadership beyond his years out of the water which certainly impressed Australia and his team mates.
He joins Ian Thorpe (2004), Brad Cooper (1972) and the late great Murray Rose (1956, 1960) to win the Olympic 400m freestyle gold.
It was fitting that Thorpe – the star of the 2000 and 2004 Olympic swim teams and the Olympic Swimming Athlete of the Century Dawn Fraser were both in the room – for Fraser 60 years after the first of three Olympic gold medals in Melbourne in 1956.
The baby of the Paralympic team in 2012, Elliott walked away from Rio a triple-gold medallist, two of them in individual events, the third in the all-conquering freestyle relay; a dual silver medallist and with two world records to her name.
Her swim in the women’s 50m freestyle S8 bettered her own world record by almost half a second, with the 17-year-old stopping the clock in 29.73 – her first time under 30 seconds.
The Newcastle girl’s two other gold medals came in the 100m freestyle and as a member of the 4x100m freestyle relay who also set a new world record.
Elliott proved her versatility when she secured silver in the 100m backstroke and also swam the butterfly leg in the silver medal winning 4x100m medley relay.
The Open Water Swimmer of the Year was shared between Rio Olympians Poort and Gubecka after their brave performances over the 10km course off Copacabana Beach.
2016 SWIMMING AUSTRALIA GALA DINNER AWARD WINNERS
Club of the Year: Warwick Swim Club, QLD
Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre Local Legend of the Year: Wayne Gadd (Norwood Swimming Club, SA)
Roger Smith Memorial Technical Official of the Year: Teresa Goddard
AIS Discovery of the Year: Rachael Watson
Golden Moment of the Year: Kyle Chalmers (100m freestyle Olympic gold)
Age Group Coach of the Year: Dean Boxall (St Peters Western)
Open Water Coach of the Year: Michael Sage (Kawana Waters)
Hancock Prospecting Paralympic Coach of the Year: Harley Connolly (Lawnton Swim Club)
Hancock Prospecting Coach of the Year: Michael Bohl (St Peters Western)
Open Water Swimmer of the Year: Chelsea Gubecka (Kawana Waters, QLD) and Jarrod Poort (Wests Illawarra, NSW)
Paralympic Swimmer of the Year: Maddie Elliott (NuSwim, NSW)
Olympic Program Swimmer of the Year: Kyle Chalmers (Marion Swim Club, SA)
Hancock Prospecting Swimmers Swimmer of the Year: Mack Horton (Melbourne Vicentre, VIC)
Speedo Services to the Australian Swim Team
Bronte Barratt – A total of 12 consecutive years on the team, Bronte has well and truly earnt her services to the Australian swim team award. The Queenslander is a triple Olympian and has won Olympic gold and been a part of a world record breaking relay team.
Matthew Cowdrey – Australia’s greatest ever Paralympian Matt Cowdrey competed at three Paralympics, making his debut at just 15 years of age. At the Paralympic Games alone Matt won a total of 13 gold medals, and 23 overall.
Marieke D’Cruz – A world champion in the 50m butterfly in Rome 2009, Marieke was a sprint specialist with outstanding short course skills and a former world record holder in 50m butterfly short course.
Ashley Delaney- With a total of eight national titles to his name across the 50, 100 and 200m backstroke from 2008 to 2013, Ash Delaney was one of the nation’s leading backstrokers and made a name for himself internationally at the 2010 commonwealth games where he helped the men’s 4x100m medley relay team to win gold.
Mel Gorman – Mel is an open water world champion from 2009 in the 5km and one of Australia’s first Olympic representatives in the 10km event in Beijing 2008. Tonight Mel will also receive her Australian Dolphins swim team passport, officially recognising her induction into the team.
Sally Hunter – The always smiling Sally Hunter made her debut on the Australia swim team in 2006 and since then competed at two Olympic games and four world championships.
Meagen Nay – A fierce competitor in the water and held the reins of the 200m backstroke domestically for a number of years. Won gold at the 2010 Commonwealth Games and represented Australia at two Olympic games.
Kylie Palmer – Olympic and commonwealth games gold medallist, former world record holder in the women’s 4x200m freestyle relay and two-time world championships representative.
Andrew Pasterfield – Paralympian and IPC World Championship representative, Andrew won gold in the men’s 4x100m freestyle relay at the London games in 2012 and excelled in the sprint freestyle events for his classification.
Sarah Rose – Competed at the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Paralympic games and specialised in the 50m butterfly event. Sarah, who trained at the AIS for a number of years, overcame injury to make it to the 2012 Paralympic games in London.
Christian Sprenger – world champion and Olympic silver medallist in the 100m breaststroke. Dual Olympian and three time world championship and commonwealth games representative Christian hit his peak in 2012 and 2013, climbing to the top of the international rankings after a consistent spell on the Australian swim team.
Jeremy Tidy - Jeremy first competed in 2005. Finished fifth in the 200m individual medley and the 100m backstroke at the 2006 IPC World Swimming Championships and has held the Australian records for his class in the 200m individual medley, the 100m backstroke and the 50m freestyle. Represented at the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games.
Melanie Wright – dual Olympian Melanie wright has played a vital role in the progression of our women’s 4x100m freestyle relay team. A sprint freestyle specialist she won gold in the 4x100m free relay at the world championships in 2007 and the Olympic games in 2012.
Chris Wright – a three time national champion in the 100m butterfly, Chris realised his Olympic dream in 2012 joining the team for London.
Alicia Coutts - five-time Olympic medallist and eight-time commonwealth games champion, Alicia was a master of many strokes and a gutsy relay swimmer. With a total of 28 international medals to her name, Alicia will bid farewell after a stellar career in the sport.
Local Legend of the Year Award (Volunteer): Wayne Gadd from the Norwood Swimming Club is not a glamorous, attention seeking type of person. Wayne Gadd is the guy who sorts through the club’s entire policies, he updates your constitution, he provides membership stats, he does all the research for the redevelopment of your website and sometime in between his full time, pressure filled job, he watches his daughter swim. He is perhaps a somewhat unlikely local legend but he is the club’s ‘go to’ guy when a good idea is born and can be relied upon to see it through. He is the epitome of the Norwood Swimming club’s culture and is a worthy winner for this award.
Technical Official of the Year: In all that she does, Teresa is professional, knowledgeable and committed. She leads by example and sets a very high standard that other technical officials look to emulate. Giving willingly of her time, Teresa takes pride in mentoring other officials. Teresa shows a high level of involvement in swimming at all levels – club, region, state, national and international. Her major achievement was being selected to officiate at the 16th FINA World Championships in Russia.
Club of the Year: Warwick Swimming Club is a small club based on the Darling Downs and are one of the longest surviving clubs in Queensland dating back to the early 1900’s. In 2015/16, one of their biggest achievements in 2015/16 season came in the improvement of club swimmers. The Warwick Swimming Club have 32 members and in . In the 2015/16 season we had 14 members achieve the standards across all JX levels. This equates to 42% of club members. The club also had a multiclass swimmer compete at National level. The Warwick Swimming Club have also been recognised for actively applying for grants and fundraising to further improve the enjoyment of their club members.