Ryan Cochrane with TSN Jennifer Hedger

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TORONTO – “Truly a magical evening” was the comment made by a one of many young swimmers walking out of the John Bassett theatre Monday night after attending the 2011 Big Splash Gala presented by CN and Vézina.

The Big Splash, hosted by Swimming Canada, brought many of Canada’s top swim stars and coaches to Toronto to celebrate the past year’s highlight moments in the pool.

It also attracted many of Canada’s top media personalities such as gala host James Duthie of TSN, as well as some of the most influential Canadian personalities.

“It was spectacular to see how many great Canadian leaders came to the Big Splash and show support to our swimmers and coaches,” said Swimming Canada CEO and National Coach.

“What was even more so spectacular was to see the spark in the 800 hundred young swimmers in the crowd cheering and lining up for autographs afterwards.”

Double silver World Championships medallist Ryan Cochrane of Victoria and Worlds Bronze medallist Martha McCabe of Toronto took home the titles of Swimmer of the Year.

“I want to share this award with my coach (Randy Bennett), my family and sponsors who are an integral part of my success,” said Beijing bronze medallist, Ryan Cochrane.

“Its going to be exciting year. My target is being the best in the world and the Olympics is where I want to take that leap forward.”

Martha McCabe shared Cochrane’s sentiments of targeting the top of the podium. “I train everyday with the intent of winning and being the best,” said McCabe. “It’s been an uphill progression for me over the years and I owe this to the support I receive from my coach, family, teammates and support team.”

The 2011 Big Splash awards recipients

Open Water Swimmer of the Year
Richard Weinberger
1st at the London test event | 17th in the 10km 2001 World Champs

Open Water Coach of the Year
Ron Jacks, UVPCS

Club Coach of the Year
Kevin Thorburn, Club: ESWIM

Impact Award
Alex Baumann

Team Aquatic Supplies Female Para-Swimmer of the Year
Summer Mortimer, Ducks Swimming

BFL Para-Female Coach of the Year
Craig Mortimer, Ducks Swimming

Team Aquatic Supplies Male Para-Swimmer of the Year
Benoit Huot, Montreal National Swim Centre

BFL Para-Male Coach of the Year
Pierre Lamy, Montreal National Swim Centre

Ted Reynolds Media Award
Scott Russell, CBC Sports

Race of the Year
Brent Hayden, Vancouver National Swim Centre, Coached by Tom Johnson
100 Freestyle 2011 World Championships

OMEGA Female Swimmer of the Year
Martha McCabe, Vancouver National Swim Centre.
Bronze 200 Breaststroke 2011 World Championships

OMEGA Female Coach of the Year
Joszef Nagy, Vancouver National Swim Centre

OMEGA Male Swimmer of the Year
Ryan Cochrane, Victoria Academy of Swimming
Silver medals : 800 Free/1500 Free 2011 World Championships

OMEGA Male Coach of the Year
Randy Bennett, Victoria Academy of Swimming

Presenters for the 2011 Big Splash

Hon. Bal Gosal, Pierre Lafontaine, Chris Rudge, Liz Trinnear, Benoit Huot, Jennifer Hedger, Ryan Cochrane, George Stroumboulopoulos, Mike Brown, Luke Bilyk, Jennifer Button, Mike West, Alex Baumann, Chelsey Gotell, Anne Ottenbrite,

In support of CANswim

The Big Splash gala also included a “pre-party” hosted by Richard Pound, honourable chairman of the CANswim movement. The event featured some of Canada’s most influential leaders coming together and joining “Canada’s Swim Team” in support of the CANswim’s goal of teaching every child to swim.