BC Swimmers Score Big at Big Splash Awards Gala

It was a night to remember for the 800 spectators and nominees of the Big Splash Awards Gala presented by CN held at the John Bassett theatre in Toronto on Monday night.  Three SwimBC athletes were winners in the major categories as Ryan Cochrane was honoured as the Omega Male Swimmer of the Year; Richard Weinberger (UVPCS) was named Open Water Swimmer of the Year; and Brent Hayden (UBCD) was recognized for Race of the Year for his performance at the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

Cochrane won for his double gold medals at both the Commonwealth Games and PanPacific Swimming Championships; Audrey Lacroix was named Omega Female Swimmer of the Year for her silver at Commonwealth Games. 

"It's a great honor for me to receive this award," said Cochrane. "I've had so much help across the border over the years and they all deserve of piece of this award." 

Cochrane also recognized Brent Hayden and Stefan Hirniak's for their effort this year. "We had amazing swims from both Brent and Stefan, and they really inspired me to get to the top of the podium." 

For Audrey Lacroix, this award capped off a season that hadn't started according to plan. "I wasn't having the best start to the year and the help of my teammates and coach really pushed me to overcome those obstacles and perform to the top of my abilities at the Commonwealth Games," said Lacroix. 

Top honors were also presented to Randy Bennett of the Victoria Academy of Swimming and Benoit Lebrun of Montreal National Swim Centre as male and female coach of the year respectively. 

The World's fastest 100m freestyle swimmer for 2010, Brent Hayden of Mission BC was the laureate for Race of the year award. 

Para-swimming multiple World Record Holder and 3-time paralympian, Benoit Huot of Montreal and newcomer Summer Mortimer of Newmarket took the TAS Para-swimmers of the year while their coaches Pierre Lamy and Craig Mortimer were presented with the BLF coaches of the year award. 

The open Water swimmer of the year was won by Richard Weinberger of Victoria, after a bronze medal performance at the 2010 Pan Pacific Championships this summer in the 10k event. His coach Ron Jacks was also presented with the Open Water Coach of the year award. 

Special inaugural awards were also presented to Dave Johnson for Club Coach of the Year, Richard Pound was presented with the Impact Award and CBC's Steve Armitage received the Ted Reynolds Media Award. 

The evening included inspiring presenters and great performances by Juno artist Shawn Desman and local Toronto singer songwriter, Jesse LeBelle and MC Trevor Boris. 

The Swimming Canada Junior and Stroke awards were presented earlier during the Canada Cup event. 

2010 Swimming Canada Junior Swimmers of the Year (18&Under) 
Male: Jeremy Bagshaw, VASC 
Female: Savannah King, UBCDS 

2010 Swimming Canada Junior Coaches of the Year 
Male Junior Coach of the Year: Neil Harvey, VASC 
Female Junior Coach of the Year: Tom Johnson, National Centre, Vancouver 

2010 Swimming Canada Youth Swimmers of the Year (16&Under) 
Male: Matthew Kwatyra, LAC 
Female: Sinead Russell, DS 

2010 Swimming Canada Youth Coaches of the Year 
Male Youth Coach of the Year: Andrew Craven, LAC 
Female Youth Coach of the Year: Erin Russell, DS 

2010 Swimming Canada Sprint Freestyle Swimmers of the of the Year 
Male: Brent Hayden, UBCDS, National Centre, Vancouver 
Female: Victoria Poon, PPO, National Centre, Montreal 

2010 Swimming Canada Distance Freestyle Swimmers of the of the Year 
Male: Ryan Cochrane, VASC, Victoria Academy of Swimming 
Female: Barbara Jardin, PPO, National Centre, Montreal 

2010 Swimming Canada Backstroke Swimmers of the of the Year 
Male: Charles Francis, PPO, National Centre, Montreal 
Female: Julia Wilkinson, VASC, Victoria Academy of Swimming 

2010 Swimming Canada Breaststroke Swimmers of the of the Year 
Male: Scott Dickens, UBCDS, National Centre, Vancouver 
Female: Annamay Pierse, UBCDS, National Centre, Vancouver 

2010 Swimming Canada Butterfly Swimmers of the of the Year 
Male: Stefan Hirniak, VASC, Victoria Academy of Swimming 
Female: Audrey Lacroix, CAMO, National Centre, Montreal 

2010 Swimming Canada IM Swimmers of the of the Year 
Male: Brian Johns, UBCDS, National Centre, Vancouver 
Female: Julia Wilkinson, VASC, Victoria Academy of Swimming