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Fairweather Takes First Baxter O'Neill Trophy

Wrap of the 2023 Swimming NZ Award Winners


The 2023 Swimming NZ awards were presented across the 5 days of the 2024 Apollo Projects NZ Swimming Championships in Hawke's Bay, where Erika Fairweather (Neptune & Swim Dunedin) capped off her memorable and record-breaking 2023 calendar year by taking out her first Baxter O'Neill Trophy.


With some incredible performances by swimmers and coaches across the New Zealand and internationally when representing the country, and dedication from officials and volunteers to the sport, there were lots of worthy recipients presented during the championships.


Fairweather took home a bag full of awards for her feats in 2023, including the Billie Fitzsimmons Cup as "International Swimmer of the Year", Domestic Swimmer of the Year and Closest to World Record - Olympic Programme.


Fairweather's coach Lars Humer (Swim Dunedin) was recognised his achievements across the Swim Dunedin programme and coaching four Aquablacks on to the team to Fukuoka by taking out the Coach of the Year award for the second consecutive year.


Cameron Leslie (Whangarei) was recognised for his performances at the 2023 Para Swimming World Championships to take out the International Para Swimmer of the Year award for the second consecutive year, with his coach Tom Onley (Whangarei) receiving the International Para Coach of the Year for the second consecutive year also.


Asher Smith-Franklin (North Shore) took out his first Domestic Para Swimmer of the Year award after breaking 53 NZ Records during the 2023 calendar year, with his coach David Prattley (North Shore) recognised as the Domestic Para Coach of the Year.


Coast Swimming Club took out their first Duncan Laing Trophy as the top club combined across the three national pool championships results in 2023, with coaches Michael Weston and John Gatfield recognised as joint Domestic Coach of the Year in recognition of the club achievements domestically as the first club other than North Shore to win the Duncan Laing Trophy.


Carlrine Gillespie (Northland) was recognised with the Bill Matson Trophy as the "International Technical Official of the Year" for her officiating standards as a referee at the 2023 Para Swimming World Championships in Manchester.


Rhys Simpson (Dolphin) was recognised as the Domestic Technical Official of the Year for his commitment to supporting and officiating at competitions within the Manawatu region.


Auckland Swimming Chair, Shirley Mackay, was recognised as Jackie Clarke "Volunteer Administrator of the Year" for her time leading the region and organising competition to support grassroots development within the Auckland region.


Congratulations to all recipients of awards, and to the finalists named for each category. Thank you for your contribution and achievements to our sport within the 2023 calendar year.





Winners for the 2023 Swimming NZ Awards

The full list of winners and the recognition relating to receiving the award have been announced below.


Baxter O'Neill Trophy

It is presented to the overall swimmer of the year for swimming performance, services to the sport and character.


Winner: Erika Fairweather (Neptune & Swim Dunedin)


Erika received this award for her outstanding performances across the 2023 calendar year. Her NZ Record breaking bronze medal and sub 4mins performance in the Women’s 400m Freestyle in Fukuoka was the highlight, alongside her triple crown in the World Cups and multiple NZ Records during the national championships. Erika has also been recognized being a role model for the wider swimming community. This is the first time Erika has received this award.


Billie Fitzsimmons Cup

The International Swimmer of the Year award is presented to the swimmer with the most outstanding performance in the 2023 calendar year.


Winner: Erika Fairweather (Neptune & Swim Dunedin)

Erika receives this award for her bronze medal winning & NZ Record breaking performance at the 2023 World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka, as she became the fifth fastest woman of all time in the Women’s 400m Freestyle by dipping under the 4mins mark for the first time. This is the first time Erika has won this award.



Domestic Swimmer of the Year

It is presented to a swimmer who has excelled in New Zealand competitions during the 2023 calendar year.


Winner: Erika Fairweather (Neptune & Swim Dunedin)


Erika received this award for her strong performances at both the 2023 Apollo Projects NZ Swimming Championships and 2023 Apollo Projects NZ Short Course Swimming Championships, where she achieved world-class FINA A times across three distances and broke multiple NZ Records. Her highlight performance within NZ was in April when she became the sixth fastest woman of all time in the Women’s 400m Freestyle. This is the third time Erika has won this award, previously in 2019 and last year in 2022.


International Para Swimmer of the Year

It is presented to a Para swimmer with the most outstanding international performance in the 2023 calendar year.


Winner: Cameron Leslie (Whangarei)


Cameron receives this award for his medal winning performances at the 2023 Para Swimming World Championships in Manchester, where he won gold in the Men’s 50m Backstroke S4, silver in both the Men’s 50m and 100m Freestyle S4 and bronze in the Men’s 200m Freestyle S4.

 

This is the second consecutive time Cameron has received this award.



Domestic Para Swimmer of the Year

It is presented to a Para swimmer who has excelled in New Zealand in the 2023 calendar year.


Winner: Asher Smith-Franklin (North Shore)


Asher received this award for his consistently strong performances across the calendar year, breaking 53 NZ Records across 2023. This is the first time Asher has received this award.


Annette Kellerman Cup

The Open Water Swimmer of the Year is presented to the individual with the best result in open water events in New Zealand and overseas in the 2023 calendar year.


Winner: Alex Dunkley (Roskill)


Alex received this award for his performances at the 2023 Orangetheory NZ Open Water Swimming Championships in Taupo where he won the Men’s 10km and 5km national titles. Alex also performed strongly at the 2023 Australian Open Water Championships in Busselton and 2023 NSW Open Water Championships within the calendar year. This is the first time Alex has received this award.



Norma Williams Cup - Emerging Swimmer of the Year

This award is presented by the NZ Swimming Alumni to up-and-coming swimmers from each of the four zones and a Para swimmer who has excelled in the qualifying period in long or short course. Nominees must be under the age of 19 years at the end of the 2023 and not have won the overall award previously.


Winner: Monique Wieruszowski (Aquabladz New Plymouth and now North Shore)


Closest to World Record - Olympic Programme

It is presented to the Olympic programme swimmer who achieved a time closest to the World Record at the time of the event in the 2023 calendar year.


Winner: Erika Fairweather (Neptune & Swim Dunedin)

 

Erika received this award from her record breaking performance in the Women’s 400m Freestyle when she became the fifth woman to break the 4mins barrier in Fukuoka. This is the first time Erika has won this award.


Closest to World Record - Paralympic Programme

It is presented to the Para swimmer who achieved a time closest to the World Record at the time of the event in the 2023 calendar year.


Winner: Cameron Leslie (Whangarei)


Cameron received this award for his performance in the Men’s 50m Freestyle S4 at the 2023 Para Swimming World Championships in Manchester. This is the second consecutive time Cameron has received this award.



Coach of the Year

It is presented as the supreme coach of the year award for coaching performance, services to the sport and character in the 2023 calendar year.


Winner: Lars Humer (Swim Dunedin)


Lars received this award for his coaching of top performances in 2023, such as Erika Fairweather’s bronze medal & sub 4mins swim in the Women’s 400m Freestyle and coaching Caitlin Deans, Zac Reid and Luan Grobbelaar to make it four swimmers from the Swim Dunedin programme on to the 2023 World Aquatics Championships team in Fukuoka. This award also recognizes the Swim Dunedin programme, with a highlight being providing for more than 60 swimmers aged 18+. This is the third time Lars has received this award.


International Coach of the Year

It is presented to the coach of the swimmer with the most outstanding international performance in the 2023 calendar year.


Winner: Lars Humer (Swim Dunedin)


Lars receives this award for his coaching performance of his Swim Dunedin swimmers at the 2023 World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka, with particular reference to Erika Fairweather’s bronze medal and NZ Record in the Women’s 400m Freestyle. This is the first time Lars has received this award.



Domestic Coach of the Year

It is presented to a coach who has excelled in New Zealand in the 2023 calendar year.


Winners: Michael Weston & John Gatfield (Coast)


Michael and John received this award for their joint coaching performance of their Coast Swimming Club across the 2023 national championships, particularly the 2023 Apollo Projects NZ Swimming Championships, 2023 Apollo Projects NZ Age Group Swimming Championships and the 2023 Apollo Projects NZ Short Course Swimming Championships. This is the first time both Michael and John have received this award.


International Para Coach of the Year

It is presented to the coach of the Para swimmer with the most outstanding international performance in the 2023 calendar year.


Winner: Tom Onley (Whangarei)


Tom received this award for his coaching performance of Cameron Leslie at the 2023 Para Swimming World Championships in Manchester, where Cameron won one gold, two silvers and one bronze medal. This is the second consecutive time Tom has received this award.


Domestic Para Coach of the Year

It is presented to a Para swimming coach who has excelled in New Zealand in the 2023 calendar year.


Winner: David Prattley (North Shore)


David received this award for his coaching performance of Asher Smith-Franklin across the 2023 calendar year as Asher broke 53 NZ Records. This is the first time David has received this award.



Duncan Laing Trophy

It is presented to the club with the most combined club points in individual events at the 2023 Apollo Projects NZ Swimming Championships in Auckland, the 2023 Apollo Projects NZ Age Group Swimming Championships in Hawke's Bay and the 2023 Apollo Projects NZ Short Course Swimming Championships in Hawke's Bay.


Winner: Coast Swimming Club


With 2023 being a competitive year between clubs at each of the three national events, Coast were the most consistent. They win this award ahead of United in second and North Shore in third. This is the first time Coast has won this award.


Bill Matson Award

The International Technical Official of the Year is presented to a technical official who has officiated in an integral role in an international competition in the 2023 calendar year.


Winner: Carlrine Gillespie (Dargaville & Northland)


Carlrine receives this award for her appointment as referee at the 2023 Para Swimming World Championships in Manchester. Within the calendar year, Carlrine also officiated at the Para Swimming World Series in Melbourne. This is the second time Carlrine has won this award.



Domestic Technical Official of the Year

It is presented to a technical official for outstanding contribution within New Zealand in the 2023 calendar year.


Winner: Rhys Simpson (Dolphin & Manawatu)


Rhys is the recipient of this award for his outstanding commitment and contribution to competitions throughout the Manawatu region, throughout the 2023 calendar year. Rhys will regularly attend meets even when not rostered on to assist other officials and the overall meet. In addition to his officiating, Rhys goes out of his way to ensure the timing and pool equipment are well maintained and ready for use at each meet. This is the first time Rhys has received this award.


Jackie Clarke Award

The Volunteer Administrator of the Year is presented to a volunteer who has displayed outstanding commitment and dedication to swimming either to Swimming NZ, a region, or a club, in administration in the 2023 calendar year.


Winner: Shirley Mackay (Auckland Swimming)


Shirley received this award for her dedication to the sport. She is the current Chair of Auckland Swimming and organises the delivery of Level 3 meets every month for west, south and central Auckland as the opportunity for grassroots to swim for their clubs.


Emerging Swimmer of the Year - Zonal Winners

These awards are presented by the NZ Swimming Alumni to up-and-coming swimmers from each of the four zones and a Para swimmer who has excelled in the qualifying period in long or short course. Nominees must be under the age of 19 years at the end of the 2023 and not have won the overall award previously.


All Stars Zone
  • Finn Harland (Capital)

Aquaknights Zone
  • Monique Wieruszowski (Aquabladz New Plymouth)

Harlequins Zone
  • Summer Osborne (North Shore)

Makos Zone
  • Brooke Bennett (Vikings)

Para Swimmer
  • Erin Knox (SwimZone Racing)


Aquablack Certificates

We were fortunate to have Aquablacks attending and competing in the 2024 Apollo Projects NZ Swimming Championships, with six Aquablacks receiving their certificate outlining their pin number and the championships they attended to secure their Aquablack status.


The six swimmers were:


  • Natasha Lloyd - Aquablack 254

  • Laticia Transom - Aquablack 264

  • Chelsey Edwards - Aquablack 265

  • Joshua Gilbert - Aquablack 284

  • Luan Grobbelaar - Aquablack 285

  • Summer Osborne - Aquablack 286



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