AUS swimming student-athlete community service awards


(ISN) – Elizabeth Skuriat and Dalhousie’s Nigel Champion were named the respective female and male winners of the AUS swimming student-athlete community service awards.

The Atlantic University Sport student-athlete community service awards recognize achievement in athletics, academics and community involvement.

The remainder of the AUS swimming major awards (swimmer of the year, rookie of the year and coach of the year) take performances from the national championship into account and will decided following the CIS championship hosted later this month by the University of Victoria.



The 2014-15 recipient of the AUS female student-athlete community service award is Acadia’s Elizabeth Skuriat.

She is the first swimmer from Acadia to ever receive the honour.

Skuriat is a fourth-year kinesiology student and a co-captain of the Axewomen’s swim team. This season, she qualified for the CIS swimming championships in the 400m freestyle event. She also holds the Acadia school record in this event.

The Georgetown, Ont. native is a three-time CIS academic all-Canadian with a cumulative GPA of 3.78. She is currently completing an honours thesis at Acadia and working in the kinesiology department as a teaching assistant.

Skuriat is heavily involved in the community, participating in an array of volunteer programs. She has logged nearly 200 hours of volunteer time with the Annapolis Valley Cardiac Rehab Program, helping patients with exercise programs.

Also active with the Acadia S.M.I.L.E. (Sensory Motor Instructional Learning Experience) program in Wolfville, Skuriat volunteers each week with children with cognitive and/or physical disabilities. She is also a volunteer with Kinderskills Acadia, a group that works with children between the ages of 0 and 4 to promote and develop gross and fine movement skills.

For an hour each week, Skuriat volunteers as a swim coach for Annapolis Valley Special Olympics. She has also participated in Acadia’s Relay for Life for the past two years, is an active member of Acadia’s WITS anti-bullying program and belongs to the Acadia Players Association.

This past fall, Skuriat helped to organize the Hoops for Luke charity basketball game to raise funds for a S.M.I.L.E. participant’s wheelchair lift.

In April 2014, she travelled to Honduras with the Acadia chapter of the Global Medical Brigades (GMB). GMB is a student-led global health and sustainable development organization. The Acadia chapter organizes yearly missions in Honduras.

“Elizabeth is an outstanding student-athlete in every respect,” said Acadia head swim coach David Fry. “She is an outstanding student with a tremendous work ethic. She has never missed a practice in my year as her coach and her achieving a CIS standard was a testimony to this hard work. She is a tremendous mentor and leader as one of our team co-captains. That she can combine this with many and varied community involvements is amazing.”




Nigel Champion of the Dalhousie Tigers is the 2014-15 AUS male student-athlete community service award recipient.

Champion is a third-year biology student from Charlottetown, P.E.I. and a sprinter for the reigning AUS champion Tigers.

At last year’s Subway AUS swimming championship, Champion claimed gold in the 400m freestyle relay. He has also managed CIS qualifying times on several occasions.

Excelling not just in the pool, but in the classroom, Champion is a two-time CIS academic all-Canadian. Last semester, he attained a perfect 4.30 GPA in his five courses and aspires to go into medicine following the completion of his undergraduate degree.

Champion is also heavily involved in the community, both in his hometown of Charlottetown and in Halifax.

From 2010 to 2012, Champion volunteered at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown.

His current community service efforts in Halifax include his roles as volunteer and vice president of the Special Tigers Sports Program and as a volunteer swim coach for Special Olympics.

Champion has recently volunteered for such initiatives as the Dalhousie White Ribbon Campaign, which aims to combat violence against women, and the Canadian Cancer Society – for which he proposed and ran a pilot study on public attitudes towards sun exposure and protection.

“Nigel was a raw athlete with a large intelligence when he first arrived at Dal three years ago,” said Tigers head swim coach Lance Cansdale. “Now as the two converge, Dal has a great developing athlete and an excellent student, and the community has a champion volunteer.”

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