There Will Be No Overall Swimmer of the Year In Australia As Bosses Go ‘Inclusive’

Mack Horton, second left, relaxing with teammates on pre-Olympic camp - photo by Delly Carr / Swimming Australia Ltd

Swimming Australia will grant no overall federation “Swimmer of the Year” in 2016 at the end of a season in which four of the nation’s five big shots at Olympic gold missed the podium altogether in Rio, where young guns Mack Horton and Kyle Chalmers stole the Dolphin show with solo victories over 400m and 100m freestyle respectively and Madeline Groves fell a fingernail shy of the ultimate prize in swimming over 200 butterfly. The move is being made in the name of “inclusive” practice at the pointy end of a business that is, by its very competitive nature, exclusive.

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Cate would have gotten swimmer of the year in the bag easily had in the Olympics she swum ANYWHERE near her best in either of her individual events.

It’s weird not to have swimmer of the year. I’d have given it to Chalmers. He won 1 individual gold, and 2 relay bronze. In Olympics year, results in the Olympics are paramount.

Craig Lord

Yes, an odd one… “Olympic Program Swimmer of the Year” … that is the swimmer of the year, seems odd to deny it being what it ought to be – the federation’s supreme athlete of the year, the Games the only measure for that in terms of a performance award. I would hope the swimmers’ swimmer is Mack, not just for leading the way in the water but also on land; for speaking up where many more need to do so. A pity that federations around the world feel able to sit around a table, board and dinner, and chewing the luxury cud with the likes of Cornel Marculescu but unable to speak up in the face of the many things that are clearly wrong at the heart of swimming governance.


So with the lack of competition and now recognising that everyones a winner. Do we wonder why Swimming in Australia is continuing to go backwards. The PC group have won but the competitor is still at home worrying about being seen a winner.
So much for the tough love approach that has seen many an Australian achieve both in and out of the pool over the years. Also add in that they are still well rounded adults and work in sound employment.

Craig Lord

Yes, zephyr, a touch of letting old lessons and examples slip from memory


Hhmm, two ways of looking at it. In all honesty, 2016 HAS been a case where there has been no clear-cut candidate for Swimmer of the Year in ANY of the categories.

You COULD make a case for Chalmers but in other years, his haul would have only put him on 3rd row of betting. All the other Olympic medallists’ Olympics could be best described as “curates eggs” (good in parts/poor in others). Neither was there any standout in Paralympic competition along with the scent of classifications being manipulated.

Whilst I feel there is a tinge on nostalgia tinged lenses that don’t quite reflect the realities of those past eras in Zephyr’s comments, I do think Swimming AUS/corporates might be better spending $$$ where it counts rather than on these “galas” where, in reality, there is little justification for holding one.

Craig Lord

Mmm… that would leave USA as the only nation where a ‘gala dinner’ is worth having, CW 🙂 I think if I were remotely connected to the success stories of Chalmers and Horton (and others who stepped up not down), I’d think their achievements worth celebrating 🙂 The dropping of the overall swimmer of year reflects other agendas, of course, not any lack of choice, reasons to be cheerful and others to be miserable.


In a country that is compact in size, the costs of bringing everyone together are minimal; for AUS where you are talking 1000km from one state capital to another. Whoever is footing the bill is up for several 100k ….. I’m just struggling to see the justification.

What other sports in AUS actually have this scale of event ? Only cycling amongst the Olympic sports and that crosses more into the professional side of the sport. Otherwise, only the professional football codes and to a degree, netball, which has evolved into a major profile.

Yet my view is that its far less the $$$$ but rather it reeks of the attitude and culture of AUS Swimming and these galas being a hangover from the years of plenty …… which have now clearly passed but AUS Swimming still deluding itself they’re still a swimming superpower when they’re now merely a contender to lead the 2nd division.

It is THAT mentality that sticks in my craw rather than any so-called PC agenda. Mind you, there is so much “management school speak” in any public utterance from Mr Anderson to induce distinct nostalgia for good old bureaucratic “doublespeak”.

Will indeed be interesting to see what plays out re the future of Aquatic Worlds; the further question has to be asked is whether a swimming worlds on its own would be a viable proposition $$$$wise and whether there would be any wider interest/more prospective hosts (no matter under FINA aegis/some new entity or the Barnum & Bailey circus)? They certainly arent the only major Olympic sport with these issues.

Craig Lord

I see those issues, too, CW, and think them significant. And while I’m no fan of expensive galas that suit blazers and others more than they suit swimmers and others, I just meant that I think Australia should feel comfortable about honouring Horton, Chalmers and co in a suitable way and feeling good about what the terrific things they’ve achieved, including the way they carried themselves out of the water (and without overdoing it 🙂

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