Rhys Davies has been named the first ‘In aid of our NHS heroes’ winner in the first on-line British Swimming Awards.
This years Awards were organised differently because of the global pandemic. New award categories were created to show how swimmers and staff went beyond just their sport to contribute to helping their communities during the nationwide lockdown. Thousands of votes were cast on-line across eight award categories.
Rhys Davies reached the Men’s S14 100m Backstroke final at the World Para-Swimming Championships in 2019. Rhys spent parts of 2020 helping to provide essential supplies for NHS staff and other front-line workers. The local boat building business he works for changed how they worked so they could help the NHS and support them during lockdown. Pembrokeshire County swimmer Davies ultimately produced 10,000 visors to support local hospitals and care homes over lockdown.
Other staff and athletes were also recognised this year at these unique British Swimming Awards.
Marathon swimmer Alice Dearing, won the Championing Diversity award. Alice – who is preparing for May’s Olympic qualifier in Fukuoka, Japan – embodied the values of aquatic disciplines being “sport for all”, by co-founding the Black Swimming Association earlier this year. The BSA is an organisation focused on increasing the participation of people from BAME communities across aquatic sports, in partnership with Swim England.
Olympic finalist, Max Litchfield, took home the Community Award after playing his own part in a push for important changes by offering tips through social media on how to help the environment and reduce plastic pollution. Both S14 swimmers, Jessica-Jane Applegate and Jordan Catchpole were nominated in this category for their brilliant work over the year.
Fresh from being named BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year on Thursday, Crystal Palace diver Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix has won the Dive of the Year prize following a breakthrough 12 months. The 16-year-old produced a brilliant Back 2 1/2 Somersaults 1 1/2 Twists (5253B) that closed out her maiden Women’s 10m Platform victory at January’s British Championships in Plymouth.
Duncan Scott won ‘Swim of the Year’ for his 200m freestyle performance at the International Swimming League final, pacing his swim from an outside lane to a strong finish in 1:40.24, nearly half a second faster than his and the nations previous best. Just missing out in this award category was nominee, Reece Dunn (S14) for his exceptional swim.
The Virtual Event of the Year award was up for grabs, with ‘Diving Live @ Five’ winning the vote.
Fuel My Friday continued as a popular feature to give fans alternative options for nutrition, delivered by those who benefit most from them. Alys Thomas’ oat and fruit pancakes picked up the most votes to win the Fuel My Friday of the Year.
Rounding out this year’s unique British Swimming awards, James Guy won Track Tuesday of the Year. The four-time world champion triumphed with his selection of Stormzy’s ‘Own It’, featuring Ed Sheeran and Burna Boy. It was clearly a popular selection, given the votes he received for this award.
The British Swimming Awards 2020 were certainly not what many will have expected them to be back at the start of the year, but they go to show how personnel from across the organisation and the wider aquatics world have adapted and excelled in unique circumstances, setting themselves up for what now looks set to be a huge year in 2021.
2020 British Swimming Awards winners
In aid of our NHS Heroes – Rhys Davies
Championing Diversity – Alice Dearing
Dive of the year – Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix
Swim of the year – Duncan Scott
Fuel my Friday of the year – Alys Thomas
Community award – Max Litchfield
Virtual Event of the year – Diving Live @ Five
Track Tuesday of the year – James Guy