Race of the Year, Coach awards announced

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OTTAWA – Swimming Canada announced several more awards Friday to kick of the final day of Big Splash Awards Week.

Eric Hedlin of Victoria won the People’s Choice Race of the Year Award to headline Friday morning’s announcements. For the second straight year, fans of Canadian swimming were able to vote for their favourite race of the year.

Hedlin’s surprise silver-medal performance in the five-kilometre open water race at FINA World Championships in Barcelona earned him the award. Hedlin was one of six nominees in the fan vote, which pitted the top races by Canadian para swimmers and able-bodied swimmers against each other.

Also announced Friday were the annual coach awards. Randy Bennett, Hedlin’s coach at the Victoria Academy of Swimming/National Swim Centre, was recognized with a pair of honours. Bennett took home the OMEGA Coach of the Year in both the Male Swimmer and Female Swimmer categories. Meanwhile, the Team Aquatic Supplies Coach of the Year (Male Para-Swimmer) went to Pierre Lamy, while Peter Carpenter won the Team Aquatic Supplies Coach of the Year (Female Para-Swimmer). Finally, Ron Jacks was named Open Water Coach of the Year.

Big Splash Awards Week has seen a different major honour announced each day. Hedlin’s fellow Victorians Ryan Cochrane (OMEGA Male Swimmer of the Year) and Richard Weinberger (Open Water Swimmer of the Year) also received Big Splash Awards. Benoit Huot and Valerie Grand’Maison of Montreal were named the Team Aquatic Supplies Male and Female Para-Swimmers of the Year earlier in the week.

Big Splash Awards Week will wrap up later today with the announcement of the OMEGA Female Swimmer of the Year as part of the RBC Sports Day in Canada Tour, presented by CBC.

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