Gold medallists scoop the pool at Swimming Gala
7 November 2016
SWIMMING: Olympic champions Kyle Chalmers and Mack Horton, Open water swimmers Chelsea Gubecka and Jarrod Poort, and Paralympic golden girl Maddison Elliott were the big winners from Swimming Australia’s Gala Dinner in Brisbane.
The who’s who of the pool converged on the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre for the sport’s night of nights – featuring members of both the Olympic and Paralympic teams.
Adelaide’s 18-year-old Chalmers was named the Olympic Program Swimmer of the Year and his historic win in the 100m freestyle also earned the Golden Moment of the Year.
Chalmers became the first Australian since Michael Wenden in Mexico in 1968 to win the blue ribband 100m freestyle gold and the fourth Australian alongside Wenden, Jon Henricks (1956) and John Devitt (1960) to win the 100m freestyle at an Olympic Games.
Chalmers was also pivotal in Australia’s bronze medal winning performances in the 4x100m freestyle and medley relays.
Melbourne’s 20-year-old Horton, who won the 400m freestyle gold in Rio, received the prestigious Swimmers’ Swimmer of the Year – voted on by the athletes - while 18-year-old Elliott was crowned the Paralympic Program Swimmer of the Year.
Horton showed composure and stamina to win the men’s 400 metres freestyle on the opening night of the Games and maturity and leadership beyond his years out of the water which certainly impressed Australia and his team mates.
He joins Ian Thorpe (2004), Brad Cooper (1972) and the late great Murray Rose (1956, 1960) to win the Olympic 400m freestyle gold.
It was fitting that Thorpe – the star of the 2000 and 2004 Olympic swim teams and the Olympic Swimming Athlete of the Century Dawn Fraser were both in the room – for Fraser 60 years after the first of three Olympic gold medals in Melbourne in 1956.
The baby of the Paralympic team in 2012, Elliott walked away from Rio a triple-gold medallist, two of them in individual events, the third in the all-conquering freestyle relay; a dual silver medallist and with two world records to her name.
Her swim in the women’s 50m freestyle S8 bettered her own world record by almost half a second, with the 17-year-old stopping the clock in 29.73 – her first time under 30 seconds.
The Newcastle girl’s two other gold medals came in the 100m freestyle and as a member of the 4x100m freestyle relay who also set a new world record.
Elliott proved her versatility when she secured silver in the 100m backstroke and also swam the butterfly leg in the silver medal winning 4x100m medley relay.
The Open Water Swimmer of the Year was shared between Rio Olympians Poort and Gubecka after their brave performances over the 10km course off Copacabana Beach.
2016 SWIMMING AUSTRALIA GALA DINNER AWARD WINNERS
Club of the Year: Warwick Swim Club, QLD
Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre Local Legend of the Year: Wayne Gadd (Norwood Swimming Club, SA)
Roger Smith Memorial Technical Official of the Year: Teresa Goddard
AIS Discovery of the Year: Rachael Watson
Golden Moment of the Year: Kyle Chalmers (100m freestyle Olympic gold)
Age Group Coach of the Year: Dean Boxall (St Peters Western)
Open Water Coach of the Year: Michael Sage (Kawana Waters)
Hancock Prospecting Paralympic Coach of the Year: Harley Connolly (Lawnton Swim Club)
Hancock Prospecting Coach of the Year: Michael Bohl (St Peters Western)
Open Water Swimmer of the Year: Chelsea Gubecka (Kawana Waters, QLD) and Jarrod Poort (Wests Illawarra, NSW)
Paralympic Swimmer of the Year: Maddie Elliott (NuSwim, NSW)
Olympic Program Swimmer of the Year: Kyle Chalmers (Marion Swim Club, SA)
Hancock Prospecting Swimmers Swimmer of the Year: Mack Horton (Melbourne Vicentre, VIC)