by Jess Burns
March 20, 2014, HALIFAX, N.S. (ISN) – Atlantic University Sport is pleased to announce the 2013-14 AUS swimming major award winners. The recipients are selected by the head coaches each year following the CIS championship and take into consideration performances at the national meet.
SWIMMER OF THE YEAR (Male): David Sharpe, Dalhousie
David Sharpe, a fifth-year science student from Halifax, N.S., had another exceptional season in the pool for the AUS champion Dalhousie Tigers and has been named the AUS male swimmer of the year.
Helping the Tigers to their 16th consecutive championship banner this year at the Subway AUS swimming championship, Sharpe claimed five gold medals in as many events. In addition to earning gold as a member of the Tigers’ 400m medley relay team, he also won gold in the 100m butterfly, 100m backstroke, 200m butterfly and 200m backstroke events. He was also named Subway Swimmer of the Meet at the AUS championship.
A former CIS gold medalist and Olympian, Sharpe continued to add to his medal collection at the Speedo CIS swimming championship this year in Toronto. He earned the CIS silver medal in the 50m backstroke and the bronze in the 200m butterfly.
Sharpe boasted a fourth-place finish in the 100m backstroke and a sixth-place finish is the 200m backstroke at the national championship. He was also named a CIS all-Canadian for the fifth consecutive year.
SWIMMER OF THE YEAR (Female): Meagan Bernier, Dalhousie
Meagan Bernier, a fourth-year student-athlete from Cole Harbour, N.S., is the 2013-14 AUS female swimmer of the year for the second time in her swimming career with the Dalhousie Tigers.
Bernier was the 2010-11 AUS rookie of the year and the 2011-12 AUS swimmer of the year. This year, she had yet another stellar season for the Tigers. At the Subway AUS swimming championship, she captured gold in the 400m freestyle as well as the 400m medley relay.
She earned silver in the 200m freestyle and the 400m individual medley.
At the Speedo CIS swimming championship, Bernier was a member of the Dalhousie Tigers 400m freestyle relay team which placed 10th and the 800m freestyle relay team which placed 9th. Individually, she earned a fifth-place finish in the 800m freestyle and a seventh-place finish in the 400m freestyle.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR (Male): Gavin Dyke, Memorial
The 2013-14 AUS male rookie of the year is Gavin Dyke from Memorial University.
Dyke, a first-year pre-psychology student from Mount Pearl, N.L., had a solid freshman season for the Sea-Hawks, earning seven medals at this year’s Subway AUS swimming championship hosted by Memorial.
Dyke took home gold medals in the 400m individual medley and the 100m and 200m freestyle events. He earned silver as a member of Memorial’s 800m freestyle relay team and bronze as part of the 400m freestyle relay team and the 400m medley relay team.
Individually, he also took home bronze in the 400m freestyle event.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR (Female): Paige Robillard, Dalhousie
The AUS female rookie of the year for 2013-14 is Paige Robillard from Dalhousie University.
Robillard, a first-year science student from Hamilton, Ont., had an impressive freshman season, capturing two bronze medals at the Subway AUS swimming championship in the 400m and 800m freestyle events and placing fourth in the 200m backstroke.
Robillard also formed one quarter of the Dalhousie Tigers 800m freestyle relay team at this year’s Speedo CIS swimming championship. Alongside teammates Meagan Bernier, Ceilidh MacPherson and Molly Wedge, Robillard helped the Tigers relay team to a ninth-place finish at the CIS championship. Their time of 8:17.44 set a new Atlantic University Sport record for this event.
COACH OF THE YEAR (Male and Female): Lance Cansdale, Dalhousie University
Dalhousie Tigers head coach Lance Cansdale has been selected by his peers as the 2013-14 AUS coach of the year for both men’s and women’s swimming.
In his second year at the helm of the Tigers’ programs, Cansdale led both the men’s and women’s squads to AUS championship wins and CIS championship tenth-place finishes.
Coach Cansdale is a former four-time NAIA all-American with over forty years’ experience as a competitive swimming professional and athlete. This is the first time in his AUS career he has taken home coach of the year honours.
Prior to joining AUS, Cansdale was honoured with several other swimming accolades, including being named the British Columbia Swim Coaches Association coach of the year twice and also earning the Canadian Swimming Coaches Association coaching recognition award.
Last season, both the Tigers men’s and women’s squad recorded first-place team finishes in Cansdale’s first year as head coach.
STUDENT-ATHLETE COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARD (Male): Peter Gregory, Memorial
Peter Gregory of the Memorial University Sea-Hawks is the 2013-14 AUS male student-athlete community service award recipient.
Gregory is a fourth-year biochemistry student in his third year of eligibility, hailing from St. Philips, N.L.
He has been volunteering with the weekly Special Olympics swimming program for two years. He volunteers his time with both the Learn to Swim program and coaching athletes with previous swimming experience.
Since 2013, he has also been volunteering with the local hospital, assisting with meals and visiting with patients. He often takes those he visits out for walks and them brings reading materials.
“Along with maintaining a very high GPA and performance level with the Memorial Sea-Hawks men’s swim team, Peter also finds time to volunteer with two very worthwhile organizations every week,” said Sea-Hawks head swim coach Aaron Dahl. “He has used his love of swimming to try and inspire the swimmers he works with and has created a special bond with these athletes over the past two years.”
STUDENT-ATHLETE COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARD (Female): Suzanne Nicholson, UPEI
The 2013-14 recipient of the AUS female student-athlete community service award is UPEI’s Suzanne Nicholson.
Nicholson, a native of Bedford, N.S., is a fourth-year business student in her fifth year of eligibility. She has been a valued member of the Panthers’ swim squad for the past five seasons.
This year, Nicholson set in motion a momentous fundraising event for her UPEI swim team. She ventured to swim across the Northumberland Strait, collecting donations from her community and Panthers supporters.
All told, Nicholson raised over $11,000 to support the current season. The Northumberland Strait crossing took her just over five hours of continuous swimming, braving the elements the entire way.
“Her unstoppable team spirit and support makes Suzanne Nicholson a worthy recipient of this award,” said UPEI swim coach Bill Calhoun. “She has always been a huge supporter of not only the swim team but all other teams on campus.”