Two swimmers and a coach were honoured as Aquatics Canada continued to announce its annual awards. The late Randy Bennett was named to the President’s Honour Roll, while Ryan Cochrane took home the Male Athlete of the Year, and Genevieve Saumur won the Spirit of Aquatics Canada award.
Bennett, who died in April, was acknowledged as an individual who has contributed above and beyond to supporting the mission, vision and goals of Aquatics Canada. Bennett was the head coach of Team Canada at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. He coached multiple Olympians including two-time Olympic medallist Cochrane. He was a selfless man who was dedicated to his swimmers. Bennett is survived by his wife and two sons.
Cochrane overcame the loss of his coach Bennett and went on to have a successful FINA World Championships in Kazan, Russia, and Pan American Games in Toronto. In Kazan, Cochrane won bronze medals in both the 400-m and 1,500-m freestyle events. These medals put Cochrane as one of two swimmers in history to medal at four consecutive world championships (Grant Hackett, Australia). In addition, Cochrane had a double gold medal performance at the 2015 Pan American Games.
Former Team Canada swimmer Genevieve Saumur was honoured with the Spirit of Aquatics Canada Award as an athlete who has risen above adversity and made a unique contribution to society or community. Saumur represented Canada at the 2008 Olympic Games, the 2007 and 2009 FINA World Championships, and was a medallist at the 2006 Pan Pacific Championships and the 2006 Commonwealth Games. Midway through her preparations for the 2012 Olympic Trials, Saumur was diagnosed with thyroid cancer.
Following her recovery and return to school, Saumur continued her commitment to sport by joining the staff at the Institut National du Sport du Québec. Saumur leads the athlete support services portfolio at the institute and heads the Game Plan program designed to aid athletes’ transition out of sport.