Teenager Ariarne Titmus wins coveted Australian Swimmer of the Year

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Teenage World champion and Tokyo Olympic hopeful Ariarne Titmus has been crowned the 30th Australian Swimmer of the Year in Sydney tonight – adding her name to a who’s who of the sport.

The 19-year-old from St Peters Western achieved what many thought was impossible when she beat US wonder-swimmer Katie Ledecky in the 400m freestyle at this year’s Fina World Championships in Gwangju.

The talented Tasmanian-born teen won a further three medals including a gold and world record in the women’s 4x200m freestyle relay.

SOTY Ariarne Titmus

Olympic Program Swimmer of the Year and Short Course Swimmer of the Year, Patron Awards Winner, Ariarne Titmus. Photo Courtesy: Swimming Australia

She is now firmly entrenched in swimming’s elite Queensland swimming hub in Brisbane, and became the first Australian to win the event since another famous Queenslander Tracey Wickham in Berlin in 1978.

Over the last three decades, the likes of Olympic champions Kieren Perkins, Susie O’Neill, Ian Thorpe, Grant Hackett, Jodie Henry, Leisel Jones, Libby Trickett and Kyle Chalmers have etched their names onto the coveted Swimmer of the Year trophy.

Titmus becomes the 12th female to win the coveted award, joining Hayley Lewis (1990), Susie O’Neill (1995, 1996), Jodie Henry (2004), Leisel Jones (2006), Libby Trickett (2007), Stephanie Rice (2008), Jessicah Schipper (2009), Alicia Coutts (2010 and 2012), Cate Campbell (2013, 2014, 2018), Bronte Campbell (2015) and Emily Seebohm (2015 and 2017).

She capped off a remarkable year in the pool to claim three prestigious accolades on a night proudly presented by Hancock Prospecting.

In front of more than 190 guests at the Museum of Contemporary Art overlooking Sydney Harbour, the teenage swimming sensation collected the coveted ‘Hancock Prospecting Olympic Program Swimmer of the Year’, the ‘Short Course Swimmer of the Year’ and the ‘Hancock Prospecting Patron Award’.

Earlier in the season at the 2018 FINA World Short Course Championships in China, she broke the world record on her way to victory in the 400m freestyle, while also setting a new Commonwealth record and capturing gold in the 200m freestyle.

It was a fruitful night for St Peters Western, with Titmus’ coach Dean Boxall taking out both the ‘Hancock Prospecting Olympic Program Coach of the Year’ and the ‘Youth Coach of the Year’. It’s been a productive season for Boxall, with multiple athletes under his watch proudly selected onto the senior Dolphins team and the Junior World Championship team.

Mrs Rinehart was on stage to present several of the awards and said it was “a dazzling night of champions”.

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Paralympic Program Swimmers of the Year, Lakeisha Patterson and Tiffany Thomas Kane. Photo Courtesy: Swimming Australia

Recent world champions Tiffany Thomas Kane (Monte) and Lakeisha ‘Lucky’ Patterson (Belgravia) were joint winners of the ‘Paralympic Program Swimmer of the Year’, following their successful campaigns at the World Para Swimming Championships in London.

After setting a new Championship record and smashing her personal best by three seconds in the heats of the women’s 100m breaststroke SB7, Thomas Kane capitalised in the final, blitzing the field to claim Australia’s maiden gold.

Patterson’s triumph followed a few days later when she caned her competition in the women’s 400m freestyle S9 to stand atop of the podium.

Patterson’s coach Harley Connolly secured the title of ‘Paralympic Coach of the Year’ after guiding ‘Lucky’ to gold, as well as Brenden Hall to a silver medal in the men’s 400m freestyle S9.

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Australian Open Water Swimmer of the Year, Kareena Lee. Photo Courtesy: Swimming Australia

Australia’s first swimmer to be selected on the 2020 Olympic team, Noosa’s Kareena Lee, was awarded the ‘Open Water Program Swimmer of the Year’, after she impressively secured a top-ten finish in the women’s 10km Open event at the World Championships in South Korea. Her coach, the legendary John ‘JR’ Rodgers, was fittingly named the ‘Open Water Program Coach of the Year’.

Having made his Dolphin debut this season in Gwangju, Nunawading’s Matthew Temple was bestowed the honour of the ‘AIS Discovery of the Year’, after breakout performances at the World Championships which saw him swim personal bests and finish sixth in the 200m butterfly.

In addition to Titmus, Marion’s Kyle Chalmers and Cotton Tree’s Lani Pallister, who is currently in Germany with the Australian Lifesaving Team, received the Hancock Prospecting Patron’s Award in recognition for their outstanding seasons, while Paralympian Jesse Aungles (Marion) was awarded the Hancock Prospecting Swimmers’ Swimmer Award after being voted by his peers.

In other awards of the evening, Faye Lewis from New South Wales won the ‘Roger Smith Technical Official of the Year’ award, Ballarat Swimming Club claimed ‘Club of the Year’ and Matt Roberts from the Nambucca Aquatic Swim Club picked up the ‘Local Legend of the Year’.

Swimming Australia’s patron Mrs Gina Rinehart was also bestowed the inaugural ‘Lifetime Contribution’ Award, which recognises someone who has made a significant and enduring contribution to Swimming Australia. It is the highest honour one can receive.

The night also celebrated swimming’s retiring Dolphins, including Olympians James Magnussen, Josh Beaver and Jessica Ashwood, and Paralympian Madeleine Scott.

Full List of Award Winners:
2018 Short Course Swimmer of the Year – Ariarne Titmus (St Peters Western)
The AIS Discovery of the Year – Matthew Temple (Nunawading)
Youth Coach of the Year – Dean Boxall (St Peters Western)
Roger Smith Technical Official of the Year – Faye Lewis (NSW)
Local Legend of the Year – Matt Roberts (Nambucca Aquatic Swim Club)
Club of the Year – Ballarat Swimming Club (Victoria)
Hancock Prospecting Patron’s Awards – Ariarne Titmus (St Peters Western), Kyle Chalmers (Marion) and Lani Pallister (Cotton Tree)
Open Water Program Coach of the Year – John ‘JR’ Rodgers (Noosa)
Paralympic Program Coach of the Year – Harley Connolly (Belgravia)
Hancock Prospecting Olympic Program Coach of the Year – Dean Boxall (St Peters Western)
Open Water Program Swimmer of the Year – Kareena Lee (Noosa)
Paralympic Program Swimmer of the Year – Lakeisha Patterson (Belgravia) and Tiffany Thomas Kane (Monte)
Hancock Prospecting Olympic Program Swimmer of the Year – Ariarne Titmus (St Peters Western)
Hancock Prospecting Swimmers’ Swimmer Award – Jesse Aungles (Marion)
Lifetime Contribution Award – Mrs Gina Rinehart

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