Two of Australia’s queens of the pool Emily Seebohm and Emma McKeon were the big winners at Swimming Australia’s awards night at the Adelaide Convention Centre on Sunday.
Triple Olympian Seebohm was named Olympic program Swimmer of the Year while McKeon took home the coveted Swimmer’s Swimmer, judged by her peers.
McKeon’s trip to the stage didn’t stop there. She joined Rio Paralympic double gold medallist Lakeisha Patterson as one of two to be honoured with Patron Awards, presented by SA’s main sponsor and patron Gina Rinehart of Hancock Prospecting.
Earlier Rinehart shared the red carpet with Olympic legend Dawn Fraser and SA’s president John Bertrand.
Paralympic program Swimmer of the Year Award went to Brisbane’s Commonwealth Games gold medallist and Rio Paralympic freestyle star Rowan Crothers.
It was Seebohm’s second time grabbing the top award. She shared it with Bronte Campbell in 2015.
The 25 year-old showed her true champion qualities to mix it with the best of the best, regularly pushing the world’s top all-round swimmer in Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu over both long and short course.
Her efforts both individually and in Australia’s relay teams underline her value.
At this year’s world championships in Budapest Seebohm took gold in the 200m backstroke, bronze in both the 100m backstroke and the 4x100m medley relay, plus a silver medal as a heat swimmer in the 4x100m freestyle.
Seebohm has high hopes of emulating Leisel Jones and becoming a four-time Olympian at the Tokyo Games.
“I have said I want to train up until 2020 and like Leisel go to four Olympics and be recognised as one of Australia’s best ever swimmers,” said Seebohm, who was last month nominated for the prestigious Sport Australia Hall of Fame Don Award.
McKeon was voted MVP on the Australian team in Budapest with six world champoionship medals – four silver and two bronze.
Other SA honours in Adelaide on Sunday included the open water award won by Queensland in Chelsea Gubecka, while short-course swimmer of the year was world champion and world record holder Mitch Larkin.
The AIS Discovery of the Year award went to Shayna Jack.
Seebohm’s coach David Lush was named Olympic coach of the year.