Sadly the annual awards celebration for British swimming, the Splash Awards were cancelled. But we thought that Britain’s aquatic sports deserved some recognition anyway, so without further ado we present the alternative Splash awards, or “Splosh Awards” if you will. It seems inevitable that people will disagree with these picks; if you do let us know on Twitter!.
Female swimmer of the year – Becky Adlington
It seemed like an obvious choice after London, where Becky won two bronze medals, making her Britain’s most successful swimming Olympian ever, but a late short course surge from Hannah Miley muddied the waters a little. On balance though, the way Adlington dealt with the pressure of London and emerged in credit tips the balance.
Male swimmer of the year – Michael Jamieson
Who else could it be? The Bath man was Britain’s stand-out performer in 2012, winning Olympic silver and bouncing back in the short course season with a second silver medal placing at the world championships in Istanbul. For good measure he also came second in the BBC’s ‘Superstars’ where as well as winning the gym tests he also showed a remarkable aptitude for archery.
Young athlete of the year – Matthew Johnson
In the aftermath of a disappointing Olympics, and with all eyes looking at the next generation coming through, one name kept cropping up, that of 17-year-old Matthew Johnson. And it was only fair that the City of Sheffield swimmer received those accolades following a successful showing at the European Junior Championships where he took two golds and a silver. He also made his senior international debut at the world short course championship in Istanbul.
Disability swimmer of the year – Ollie Hynd
A tough category to pick with such a successful Paralympic performance from Britain to choose from, but Ollie Hynd sneaks a tough decision. In his first Paralympics, the then 17-year-old bagged a full house of medals, which included a European record on his way to the SM8 200m IM title.
Diver of the year – Tom Daley
Chris Mears made a strong case in this category following his 5th placed finish in the 3m springboard in London, with some incredible individual scoring along the way, but with Olympic bronze there really could be only one winner, Tom Daley. Daley dealt with all sorts of distractions, both in the lead up to the competition and indeed as he left the platform at the start of the 10m final, but kept his nerve supremely to bag Britain’s only diving medal.
Waterpolo performance of the year – Fran Leighton
2012 was something of a breakthrough year for British waterpolo as both men’s and women’s teams competed at the Olympics. On the men’s side, Craig Figes as captain would get into most world class teams, while Rob Parker from Cheltenham was also a stand out performer. But the waterpolo performance of the year came from ladies’ captain Fran Leighton who led her team towards international respectability both in the lead up to London and at the games themselves. Her efforts, along with those of the squad, led to a huge boost in funding for the women’s game in the lead up to Rio 2016 and a real belief that the ladies could qualify of right next time around.
Synchronised swimmer of the year – Jenna Randall and Olivia Federici
A joint award for Britain’s duet representatives in London; Jenna and Olivia achieved the highest placed British finish for 20 years in the duet competition and also lead the synchro team to a highly creditable 6th place in the Olympic final.
Open water swimmer of the year – Dan Fogg
A straight choice between Fogg and Kerrie-anne Payne as Britain’s two Olympic competitors, both of whom placed in the top 5 in London, but the Loughborough swimmer snatches it. Leading into the games few would have pegged Fogg as having any realistic pretensions to a top 10 finish, but spurred on by a vocal home crowd, Fogg surged through the field to take a worthy 5th place in the Serpentine.
Performance of the year – Ellie Simmonds – 400m Free, London 2012
She had a lot to live up to heading into London, and could have been forgiven for becoming distracted by the publicity surrounding the classification of her biggest rival, the USA’s Victoria Arlen, but Ellie kept her composure superbly to deliver another stunning major championship performance. It was less about the victories and more about the manner of those victories as she smashed two world records on her way to a haul of 2 gold, silver and a bronze. Of those swims, her mature showing in the 400m where she tracked Arlen before sprinting away from the American in the closing stages is the performance of the year.
Inspiring club award – City of Sheffield SC
It was a close call between City of Sheffield and national league champions Plymouth Leander, who also had a strong 2012. But it was a fine year for the self-styled “Team Steel” who placed numerous swimmers into national teams at all levels. Under the leadership of Russ Barber the Yorkshire club is starting to grow into its home at Ponds Forge.
Splosh star – BERT LE CLOS!
If you looked outside the pool in London there’s no doubt who was the biggest star of the games, Chad Le Clos’ dad Bert. Bert captivated the nation with his heart-warming interview with Clare Balding shortly after Chad had pipped Michael Phelps to the 200m fly title. He was a model of paternal pride and naturally funny with it – an absolute star!
Lifetime Achievement – David Davies
He only hung up his goggles a few moths ago, but David Davies has been the stand out British male swimmer of the past decade. Since exploding onto the global stage with a 4th placed finish at the 2003 world championships in Barcelona, Davies has won medals at every level, including Olympic silver and bronze, two world bronzes and the Commonwealth title in 2006. Injury may have curtailed his later years, but Davies was a superb role model for younger swimmers and a testament to what hard work and determination can achieve.