Swimming coach Tim Konowalik explains the reasons for this year's Swimmers of the Year awards. The awards are based both on performance in training and in competitions throughout the academic year.
Erica's achievements this year have been nothing short of remarkable in view of the situation she found herself in at the beginning of the academic year. However they say that people are judged by how they overcome obstacles and Erica is certainly a shinning example of this. As the university squad can only offer a maximum of three pool sessions a week, Erica was forced to train on her own up to eight times each week. This necessitated overcoming the anti-social, almost non-swimmers who insist on swimming in the 'high performance' lanes during public sessions. Erica's efforts were rewarded with consistent personal best times throughout the year and with strong performances at both BUSA short and long course events. The best was yet to come however with her knocking eleven seconds off her personal best time for 800m freestyle, this time qualifying her for the ASA Senior National Championships in August later this year. Erica's attitude to training has been nothing short of exemplary with her being first and last out of the pool at every session she has attended. I am sure that she can build on her success this year and achieve even greater things next season.
Needless to say that this is probably not the most important achievement of his distinguished swimming career! Smithy wins this award on the back of a massive contribution to the club in 2005-2006. From a competitive perspective he came a long way from his memorable first session back in the pool after a year off, going on to swim times that he can be very pleased with on the back of just two pool sessions a week. Smithy put in some memorable relay performances and helped the men's squad massively through the lending of leg suits to the entire relay team! We have all been impressed with his performance in training and I personally have learnt a lot from him. His contribution has also been large socially, with him putting in a lot of hard work of a different kind on many occasions in the popular student haunts of Robinski's, the AU Social and Flares in Sheffield. He commented himself that this year has 'been fun' and the whole team would certainly echo this. His departure is a sad loss but I have no doubt that we will be seeing a lot more of the 'sprinkler' in years to come.