Emily Overholt Joins Ryan Cochrane as Swimmer of the Year for Swimming Canada

Jul 17, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Emily Overholt of Canada on the podium after winning the women's 400m freestyle final the 2015 Pan Am Games at Pan Am Aquatics UTS Centre and Field House. Mandatory Credit: Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports
Photo Courtesy: Erich Schlegel/USA Today Sports Images

Earlier this week, Swimming Canada named Ryan Cochrane the Male Swimmer of the Year.  Today, Emily Overholt joined him as the Female Swimmer of the Year.

Swimming Canada Press Release:

Swimming Canada wrapped up its annual Big Splash Awards announcements Friday as Emily Overholt and Richard Weinberger were honoured.

The High Performance Centre – Vancouver swimmers are in Toronto this week as part of the Olympic Excellence Series and Media Summit. Overholt was named Female Swimmer of the Year while Weinberger received the Open Water Swimmer of the Year award. Olympic soccer medallist Karina LeBlanc of Yahoo! Sports presented the pair with their awards as part of the Media Summit activities.

Overholt, the youngest swimmer on the national team, won the hearts of Canadians with her bounce-back performance at the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games. Overholt won the 400-m individual medley, only to find out minutes later that she was disqualified for an illegal turn. After the disappointment of the disqualification, Overholt had minimal time to shake it off and go lead off the 4×200-m freestyle relay. With the help of Katerine Savard, Alyson Ackman and Brittany MacLean, they brought home a bronze medal. The following night she won gold in the 400-m freestyle in Games record time.

She went on to win bronze in the 400 IM at the FINA World Championships in Kazan, Russia, smashing the Canadian record in the process.

“I’m very grateful to receive this award and for all the support from Swimming Canada. Looking back on the year, the experiences that I had at the Pan Am Games and world championships were unforgettable,” said Overholt, who turned 18 in October. “I came out of the summer with many positives but also many things to improve. This recognition means so much going into 2016 and I’m excited for the upcoming year.”

Weinberger, meanwhile, was the first Canadian to earn the right to be nominated to the Rio 2016 Olympic Team, thanks to his eighth-place performance in the men’s 10-km open water marathon in Kazan.

“It’s an incredible feeling to still be top dog in a field of very competitive and talented swimmers Canada has,” said the 25-year-old, who took bronze in the 10-km at the London 2012 Olympic Games. “I am happy to be the best this time around for the Olympic year but I am sure there will be several new up and coming athletes spring out of the woodwork the next four years for the 2020 Olympics.”

Both receive Inuit sculptures by Canadian artists, certified by the Government of Canada. The award sculptures were created by artists from the Inuit community of Sanikiluaq, Nunavut, on the Belcher Islands in Hudson Bay. Overholt’s sculpture is a whale created by George Arragutainaq, while Weinberger receives a bird by Johnassie Kudluarok.

Meanwhile, their coach Tom Johnson receives Coach of the Year honours for both the Female Swimmer and Open Water Swimmer categories. Johnson’s sculptures are a walrus by Johnny Aqiatusuk and a whale by Sam Kavik.

Full list of 2015 Big Splash Award winners:

Female Swimmer of the Year: Emily Overholt

Male Swimmer of the Year: Ryan Cochrane

Open Water Swimmer of the Year: Richard Weinberger

Female Para-swimmer of the Year: Aurelie Rivard

Male Para-swimmer of the Year: Benoit Huot

Coach of the Year (Female Swimmer): Tom Johnson

Coach of the Year (Male Swimmer): Ryan Mallette

Coach of the Year (Open Water Swimmer): Tom Johnson

Coach of the Year (Female Para-swimmer): France Latendresse

Coach of the Year (Male Para-swimmer): Marc-Andre Duchesneau