Cochrane, Lacroix: Omega Swimmers of the Year at Big Splash 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 on Monday night.

Commonwealth Games Double gold medalist Ryan Cochrane and silver medalist Audrey Lacroix were named Omega Swimmers of the Year 2010.

“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 honours 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 Worlds fastest 100-metre freestyle swimmer for 2010, Brent Hayden (Mission, B.C.) 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 (Newmarket, Ont.) 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 (Victoria), after a bronze medal performance at the 2010 Pan Pacific Championships this summer in the 10 km 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.