Photo & Story by Stephen J. Thomas
SYDNEY, Australia, November 22. IT came as no surprise to anyone that Grant Hackett, the Australian team captain, was named the 2005 Australian Swimmer of the Year at a formal function in Sydney. Hackett won a golden treble in the 400/800/1500 freestyle, including a world record in the 800, together with silver in the 200 freestyle and a bronze in the 800 freestyle relay at the World Championships in Montreal this year.
It is the second time the 25-year-old Queenslander has won the award having shared the title with five-time winner Ian Thorpe in 2003. Hackett took out five awards in total, having also picked up the Swimmers' Swimmer of the Year (voted by his Aussie team members) and the Swimmer of the Year (People’s Choice) and both men’s Middle Distance and Long Distance Freestyle Swimmer of the Year awards.
Hackett won the Swimmer of the Year from a trio of female stars, Leisel Jones, Libby Lenton and Jessicah Schipper.
Hackett, who has had successful shoulder surgery for a chronic injury last week and was still carrying his right arm in a sling, nearly fell climbing the steps on one of his frequent trips to the stage but was still able to pass a joke that at least he hadn’t broken his ankle as well. He will miss the qualification meet for next year’s Commonwealth Games and Pan Pacific Games in late January but felt that the shoulder was feeling good and he hoped to be back in training before the end of this year.
While Hackett was the big winner of the night, Libby Lenton also took home three awards, Short Course Swimmer of the Year, Female Sprint Freestyle Swimmer of the Year and Middle Distance Swimmer of the Year. Lenton also had had an outstanding year which included gold in the 50 freestyle in Montreal, both the 400 medley and freestyle relays, and silver in the 800 relay which included a Commonwealth record in her relay leadoff. The 20-year-old also broke three world records in short course this year: the 100 freestyle twice in August and the 200 freestyle just this past weekend at the FINA World Cup meet.
Breaststroker Leisel Jones took the “Golden Moment” of the Year award for her winning the women’s 100 breaststroke in Montreal. Jones finally got the monkey off her back after a series of silver medal efforts at major meets over the past five years. Jones also broke the world record in the 200 breaststroke as well as her contribution in the 400 medley relay gold medal performance. Not surprisingly, Jones also took the female Breaststroke Swimmer of the Year.
Coach of the Year was jointly awarded to Denis Cotterell (Hackett) and Stefan Widmer (Lenton and Jones).
Services to Swimming Australia 2005
Roger Smith AM
Roger Smith Technical Official of the Year
Karen MacLeod – Queensland
Telstra SWD Scholarship Winners
Australian Sports Commission Male Discovery of the Year
Australian Sports Commission Female Discovery of the Year
Swimming Australia Male Individual Medley Swimmer of the Year
Swimming Australia Female Individual Medley Swimmer of the Year
Age Group Coach of the Year
SWD Coach of the Year
Open Water Coach of the Year
Coach of the Year
Denis Cotterell and Stefan Widmer
Female Short Course Swimmer of the Year
Male Short Course Swimmer of the Year
Swimming Australia Female Open Water Swimmer of the Year
Swimming Australia Male Open Water Swimmer of the Year
Swimming Australia Female Breaststroke Swimmer of the Year
Swimming Australia Male Breaststroke Swimmer of the Year
Female Sprint Freestyle Swimmer of the Year
Male Sprint Freestyle Swimmer of the Year
Female Middle Distance Freestyle Swimmer of the Year
Male Middle Distance Freestyle Swimmer of the Year
Female Backstroke Swimmer of the Year
Male Backstroke Swimmer of the Year
Female Distance Freestyle Swimmer of the Year
Male Distance Freestyle Swimmer of the Year
Swimming Australia Female Butterfly Swimmer of the Year
Swimming Australia Male Butterfly Swimmer of the Year
Female Youth Swimmer of the Year
Male Youth Swimmer of the Year
Swimming Australia Golden Moment of the Year 2005
Leisel Jones – 100m Breaststroke 2005 FINA World Championships
Swimmer of the Year (People’s Choice)
Swimmer of the Year with a Disability
Swimmers’ Swimmer of the Year
Swimmer of the Year