David Lush, the man who guided Emily Seebohm to World Championship gold in Budapest last year, has been named the Australian Swimming Coaches and Teachers Association Coach of the Year.
Lush joins the ‘who’s who’ of Australian Coaches in his own right – coaches who have won the ASCTA award include the late John Carew, Doug Frost, Ian Pope, Denis Cotterell, John Fowlie, Stephan Widmer and last year’s winners Peter Bishop and Craig Jackson.
The 35-year-old joins Fowlie as one of the youngest recipients of the prestigious award, presented by ASCTA President, Tony Shaw in front of almost 300 coaches, teachers and swimmers at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Pope was in the audience which also included Master coach Ursula Carlile and Platinum coaches Leigh Nugent, Vince Raleigh; who was awarded the Outstanding Contribution to Swimming in Australia Award, as well as current Dolphins Head Coach, Jacco Verhaeren.
Two members of Australia’s Gold Coast Commonwealth Games swim team, five-time gold medallist Mitch Larkin, 1500m freestyle gold medallist Jack McLoughlin were guest presenters.
Lush adopted Seebohm into his coaching group at the Brisbane Grammar School in the lead up to the 2015 FINA World Championships in Kazan when Australia’s longest serving current Dolphin became the first Australian female to win the 100-200m backstroke world title double.
Two years later after an indifferent Olympic campaign in Rio and the diagnosis of endometriosis, the Lush-Seebohm combination struck gold again – this time in Budapest and in the 200m backstroke – in a stunning swim late in the meet which also earned Lush the Outstanding Achievement Award earlier in the night.
Lush also coached Seebohm to gold medals in the 50m backstroke and 4x100m medley relay as a recent a member of the all-conquering Australian Commonwealth Games swim team with his charges Seebohm and Minna Atherton.
While Lush was a deserved winner of the Coach of the Year – the Swim Australia Teacher of the Year went to Kerryn Harber from the Superfish Swim School on the Gold Coast.
Kerryn is the Head Trainer and Assessor for over 70 teachers at Andrew Baildon's Superfish Swim Schools on the Gold Coast and Sunnybank.
She is highly dynamic about all babies and children's well-being and, developing their love of swimming.
Harber thanked Superfish owners Karen and Andrew Baildon for giving her the opportunity to fulfill her dreams of teaching babies to swim.
Dean Boxall (St Peters Western) won the Australian Age Group Coach of the Year Award for this year’s National Age in Sydney following his outstanding Commonwealth Games with Mitch Larkin, Ariarne Titmus, Clyde Lewis and Jack Cartwright.
Robbie Van Der Zant (Yeronga Park) was awarded the Multi Class Coach of the Year Award for his efforts with Paralympian Rowan Crothers.
Cerebral Palsy sufferer, Crothers, a 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medallist, was also a finalist in Rio in 2016 and has continued to improve under Van der Zant’s coaching.
He also starred at the Australian Short Course Championships, becoming the first Paralympic swimmer to swim under 50 seconds for 100m freestyle.
He and Van Der Zant now have plans in place for the next two years leading into Tokyo.
While Michael Sage (Kawana Waters) won the Open Water Coach of the Year after another outstanding season by Rio Olympian Chelsea Gubecka.
Sage has been one of Australia’s leading swim coaches, with a specialist team of Open Water swimmers, led by three-time World Championship team member and 2016 Rio Olympian Gubecka.
Sage, himself an Olympic coach in Rio, has been the Director of Coaching at the Kawana Waters Club on the Sunshine Coast in 2013 and brings a wealth of experience as a swimmer and a coach to this program.
ASCTA life memberships were also presented to long serving coaches and teachers Lynn Elliott and Carol Gathercole – wife of the late Master Coach Terry Gathercole and they become just the second and third female Life Members behind the legendary first female life member in Ursula Carlile (1987) - who was also present in the room.
2018 ASCTA-Swim Australia Gala Dinner, Awards, Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre: Coach of the Year (2017) David Lush. Teacher of the Year: Kerryn Harber. Outstanding Coaching Achievement (2017): David Lush. Open Water Coach of the Year (2017): Michael Sage; Multi Class Coach of the Year (2017): Robert Van der Zant. Masters Coach of the Year: Peter Johnston; Age Group Coach of the Year (2018): Dean Boxall. Meritorious Service to the Teaching of Swimming in Australia: Kylie Hammond. Outstanding Contribution to Swimming in Australia: Vince Raleigh. Life Members: Lynn Elliott; Carol Gathercole; SwimSAFER Awards: Ripples Leisure Centre; Holsworthy Aquatic Centre; Splash Swim School. Outstanding Community Service Award: Sunny Skye’s Swimming and Parties; Crawchy’s Swim School; The Glennie Aquatic; Nepean Aquatic. Best Swim School for Marketing, Promotion and Customer Service: Superfish Swim School. Best Swim School Innovation: Parafields Gardens Swim School; SwimECO; Seadragonz Swim School; Outstanding Supporters Award: Vorgee; Kids Alive; Dawn Fraser.