At a glittering ceremony in Windsor, Canada, at the weekend, FINA honoured the greatest aquatic stars of the year. The FINA World Aquatics Gala – or Soirée des Etoiles – is an annual tribute to the best athletes in each of the aquatic disciplines, and judges took into account points collected at FINA events as well as the Olympics and world records to choose their category winners.
Aweards were handed out to stars of the pool Michael Phelps, Katinka Hosszu, Adam Peaty and Katie Ledecky, but there was also a separate category for open water. Ferry Weertman and Sharon Van Rouwendaal were awarded male and female open water swimmer of the year respectively, a reflection of their Olympic successes in the 10km marathon swim.
“For the last six years, I was working towards the goal of achieving the Olympic gold. It finally happened in Rio! And it was the best experience of my whole life,” said Weertman.
Despite injury, Van Rouwendaal still managed to make a break and hold her lead in the Olympic race. “I showed everyone I could do it even though I had a tough year. I always said I was going be an Olympic champion since I’m four,” she said.
The 2016 category winners are:
Men: Michael Phelps,United States
Women: Katinka Hosszu, Hungary
Best Swimming Performance:Adam Peaty, Great Britain and
Katie Ledecky, United States
Women: Dejan Savic, Serbia
Men: Adam Krikorian, United States
Men: Chen Aisen, China
Women: Shi Tingmao, China
Svetlana Romashina, Russia
Natalia Ishchenko, Russia
Men: Ferry Weertman, Netherlands
Women: Sharon Van Rouwendaal, Netherlands
Men: Gary Hunt, Great Britain
Women: Lysanne Richard, Canada
The following coaches were also rewarded on the occasion: Bob Bowman (coach of Michael Phelps, USA), Shane Tusup (coach of Katinka Hosszu, HUN), Dejan Savic (coach of Team Serbia, men’s water polo), Adam Krikorian (coach of Team USA, women’s water polo), Alex Rochas (coach of Gary Hunt, GBR), Chris Huber (coach of Lysanne Richard, CAN), Marcel Wouda (coach of Ferry Weertman, NED), Philippe Lucas (coach of Sharon Rouwendaal, NED), Tatiana Danchenko (coach of Svetlana Romashina and Natalia Ishchenko, RUS), Liu Ben (coach of Chen Aisen and Shi Tingmao, CHN).
The FINA Media Award of 2016 was awarded to Clémentine Blondet from the French sport newspaper L’Equipe.