Cate Campbell, Emma McKeon and Jack McLoughlin claimed the top gongs at Swimming Australia’s Awards proudly presented by Hancock Prospecting, in Melbourne tonight.
Triple Olympian Campbell (Chandler) took out the Olympic Program Swimmer of the Year with Griffith University’s McKeon taking out the coveted Hancock Prospecting Swimmers Swimmer for the second year in a row, in a tie with Chandler’s Jack McLoughlin.
The Paralympic Program Swimmer of the Year went to Commonwealth Games gold medallist Matthew Levy (North Sydney); the Open Water Swimmer of the Year went to Karena Lee (Noosa) and para swimmer Ben Popham (Arena) picked up the AIS Discovery of the Year.
The Patron Awards, presented by Mrs Gina Rinehart on Friday night at the pool went to Olympic gold medallist Kyle Chalmers (Marion) and St Peter’s Western’s Ariarne Titmus.
The Olympic Program Swimmer of the Year award caps off a stellar year for Campbell who returned to the pool following a break at the 2017 Australian Short Course Championships where she broke the world record in the 100m freestyle.
She continued her strong form into the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games picking up three gold medals and one silver, including anchoring the women’s 4x100m freestyle relay to a world record.
At the recent Pan Pacific Championships in Tokyo she secured five gold medals, including a personal best in the 100m freestyle and a meet record in the 50m freestyle.
Taking out the peer voted award of Swimmers Swimmer for the second year running, McKeon picked up six medals at the recent Commonwealth Games. This included setting a games record in the 100m butterfly, 4x200m freestyle relay, 4x100m medley relay and was also a part of the world record breaking 4x100m freestyle relay.
Also taking home the Hancock Prospecting Swimmers Swimmer in a tie with McKeon was Chandler’s Jack McLoughlin. 23-year-old McLoughlin had a successful year in the pool claiming gold in the 400m freestyle at the Pan Pacific Championships and a bronze in the 800m and 1500m freestyle. He also took home the gold in the 1500m and a silver in the 400m freestyle at the Commonwealth Games.
Four-time Paralympian Levy had a stand-out meet at the recent Para Pan Pacific Championships in Cairns taking home gold in the 400m freestyle (S7) and 200m IM (SM7), a sliver in the 50m butterfly (S7) and two relay gold medals.
Levy’s coach and former Australian and Canadian Commonwealth Games swimmer Stephen Badger from North Sydney claimed Paralympic Coach of the Year.
The AIS Discovery winner 18-year-old Popham from Perth claimed gold in the men’s 100m freestyle (S8) at the recent Para Pan Pacific Championships, in his first outing as an Australian Dolphin. His winning time of 59.33 is the fastest in the world in 2018.
To add to Chandler’s success on the night, Simon Cusack was awarded the Hancock Prospecting Olympic Program Coach of the Year with Dean Boxall from St Peter’s Western picking up the Youth Coach of the Year following his success in 2018 with Ariarne Titmus, Jack Cartwright, Clyde Lewis and Mitch Larkin all claiming medals on the international stage.
Lee, who claimed the silver in the 10km at the recent Pan Pacific Championships, is coached by the winner of the Open Water Program Coach of the Year John Rodgers, the Noosa based coach also trains fellow open water swimmer and Pan Pacs bronze medallist Nick Sloman.
In its second year, the Optus Community Award recipient was Monique Murphy. Murphy has played a critical role in inspiring the next generation of swimmers through her participation in swimming clinics, Australia Swims, Optus Junior Dolphins and Olympics Unleashed in 2018.
On Friday night during the finals session at the pool Cherry Smith (NSW) was awarded the Roger Smith Technical Official of the Year, with Julia Roberts (Kambalda Amateur Swimming Club) taking out the Optus Local Legend and South Gippsland Bass Swimming Club winning Optus Club of the Year.
Also, acknowledged on the night for their contribution to swimming, having retired in the last 12 months, were Bobby Hurly, Michael Anderson, Peter Leek, Jarrod Poort, Bronte Barratt and Belinda Hocking.