Star Paralympian Sophie Pascoe has been awarded Swimming New Zealand’s Swimmer of the Year Award.
The announcement came at the sport’s annual awards in Auckland on Saturday night that followed the successful New Zealand Open Championships that doubled as a selection event for both able-bodied and Para swimmers for key upcoming events.
Pascoe enjoyed a remarkable 2016 where she became the most decorated New Zealand Paralympian in history.
She won three gold medals and two silvers at the Rio Paralympics that took her medal tally to 15 that include nine gold medals. Her five medals made her the equal 10th most successful Paralympian at Rio from the 4,350 athletes at the Games.
At the end of the year Pascoe was ranked number one in the world for the 100m butterfly, 100m backstroke and 200m individual medley, and she holds four world records and 10 Oceania records.
The international swimmer of the year was Lauren Boyle for her ninth placing in the 800m freestyle and 14th in the 400m freestyle at the Rio Olympics, achieved despite injury and illness.
Fellow Rio Olympian Bradlee Ashby was named national swimmer of the year. The then 20-year-old, from the Fairfield club in the Waikato but training at Swimming New Zealand’s high performance centre, qualified for Rio after winning the 200m individual medley at the national championships, where he became the first New Zealander to go under the two minute mark. He went on to make the semifinals in that event at Rio.
Outstanding Howick Pakuranga coach Jana Wilkitzki was awarded Coach of the Year while Hamilton’s Jolie Fenwick is the Masters Swimmer of the Year after breaking 12 national records in 2016 including two long-standing records held by New Zealand swimming greats. She broke the 50m butterfly mark set by the great Rebecca Perrot 20 years ago and the 50m freestyle record set by Jayne Parkhouse that stood for 25 years.
Swimming New Zealand also recognised a number of Kiwi Swim Safe Schools, Quality Swim Schools and individuals for outstanding contributions to the Learn to Swim sector.
New Zealand Swimming Trust – Zonal Emerging Swimmers: Harlequins – Hayley McIntosh (Northwave); Aquaknights – Zac Reid (Aquabladz); All Stars – Lewis Clareburt (Capital); Makos – Caitlin Deans (Neptune).
New Zealand Swimming Alumni Emerging Swimmer of the Year: Lewis Clareburt (Capital Swim Club).
Performance Swimming Club of the Year: North Shore Swimming Club
Bill Matson Technical Official of the Year: Ron Clarke (Canterbury West Coast)
Volunteer of the Year: Don Stanley (NZ Swimming Trust)
Open Water Swimming of the Year (Annette Kellerman Trophy): Kane Radford (Swim Rotorua)
Para Swimmer of the Year: Sophie Pascoe (QEII Swim Club, Canterbury)
National Swimmer of the Year: Bradlee Ashby (Fairfield Swim Club, Waikato)
Swimming New Zealand Coach of the Year: Jana Wilkitzki (Howick Pakuranga)
International Swimmer of the Year: Lauren Boyle (United Swimming Club)
NZ Masters Swimmer of the Year: Jolie Fenwick (Hamilton Masters)
New Zealand Swimmer of the Year (Baxter O’Neill Trophy): Sophie Pascoe.
Photo credit: BW Media
Further details: www.swimming.org.nz. Content provided by Swimming New Zealand.