LEONGATHA swimmer Mikaela Cornelissen was awarded the Rising Star Award at the Gippsland Sports Academy Annual Awards Night on Friday.
The Rising Star Award is designed to assist identified athletes from within the Gippsland Sports Academy to prepare effectively as they look to take the next step in their sporting career.
The Gippsland Sports Academy regards this initiative as an underpinning award to The Future Talent Program facilitated by the Victorian Institute of Sport.
Once identified, athletes will be provided with funding through the Gippsland Sports Academy to assist them in their preparation.
Mikaela was joined by fellow Leongatha local Jamin Heppell, who was guest speaker on the night.
The Phil Shelley award for sport development within the Gippsland Sports Academy was awarded to Dean Gooch.
Dean has really stepped up to the senior coaching role since his appointment in 2015.
His planning of sessions and inclusive nature is just the right fit for Academy swimmers who travel from all parts of Gippsland to be part of the team.
A rare coach in the sport as he has never competed as a swimmer, however with a significant basketball background, his desire for excellence, strategy and the right technique with an underlying competitive drive for improvement has helped assist all swimmers and coaches in the program.
Dean’s work with Emily Beecroft to win a place in the Paralympic squad for Rio completes what has been an outstanding coaching year for Dean with the Academy and his individual swimmers.
The Tim Forsyth Award for Sporting Excellence was won by Emily Beecroft.
Emily has stepped up her training and conditioning this season and the results are there for all to see.
Emily dominated the country championships, stepped up again at state championships to win the multi class swimmer of the meet, competed at national age and won four out of four events and finished off at Olympic trials, winning a silver in the 50m butterfly.
She has been selected to the Australian Paralympic Squad to compete at the Rio Paralympic games in September this year.
The David Drane Award for encouragement was won by Ksenija Varesanovic.
Ksenija’s outstanding commitment and determination, along with a passion and love of the game will continue to drive her in the pursuit of her long term goal of becoming a professional tennis player.
She enthusiastically trains, practices or plays matches six days a week.
For a young teenager living in the country, leaving home at 5.30am to travel to Melbourne for an 8.30am match, playing a second match in the afternoon, getting home at 8pm and then repeating this day after day during tournaments requires substantial resolve and personal sacrifice.
Ksenija has worked very hard during the past 12 months to improve her ranking.
She is ranked in the top 25 in the state for her age group.
Ksenija has had many tournament successes, both within her age group, as well as open age events.