Olympic medalist Dane Bird-Smith and world number one water skier Jacinta Carroll have been named The University of Queensland Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year.
The UQ Sport 2017 Club and Sports Awards recognised excellence in sport and contribution to university life.
Bird-Smith claimed the honour for a second-consecutive year, beating three-time Paralympic gold medallist Brenden Hall (swimming).
In the 12 month award period (1 March, 2016 – 28 February, 2017), the UQ Sports Achievement Scholarship recipient won a bronze medal (Men’s 20km Race Walk) at the 2016 Rio Olympics, as well as gold in the same event at the 2017 Oceania & Australian 20km Race Walking Championships.
Bird-Smith is the seventh student-athlete to win multiple UQ Sportsman of the Year awards.
Top-ranked water ski jumper Jacinta Carroll received Sportswoman of the Year honours ahead of Rio Olympic bronze medallist Maddison Keeney (diving).
Carroll, a UQ Sports Achievement Scholarship recipient, gained seven gold medals across five international-level water ski events in 2016 – including the Australian National Championships and US Masters Water Ski & Wakeboard Tournament.
Carroll said it was an honour to be the first water skier to win the accolade.
“To be named as the UQ Sportswoman of the Year goes above and beyond any expectation I have,” Carroll said.
“I am so thankful to be part of such an amazing elite athlete program at UQ, and the accomplishments I have achieved in the past 12 months would not have been possible without the support of the UQ Sport Academy.”
The UQ Boat Club received the prestigious $5,000 Hulbert Bursary – awarded for outstanding achievement, innovation and best practice in club management.
The club placed first and fourth overall respectively at the 2017 Queensland State Championships Regatta and 2016 Australian Open Rowing Championships.
UQ Boat Club chairman Edward Draydon said the club would use the funding to further develop its recreational and elite-level rowing programs.
“The club continues to go from strength to strength and our high performance program is now rated one of the best in the county,” Draydon said.
“We are motivated to further pursue the club’s strategic plan this year by engaging with the University to build a new boat shed to cater for our growing membership base.”
The UQ Swim Club received two awards, including the President’s Cup for exceptional competition performance.
Vice president Chris Hawley said the club has enjoyed significant success in 2016, particularly UQ being crowned champion university in swimming at Australian University Games.
“Since reforming in 2012 after the Brisbane floods, the club has continued to grow and the success of many individuals and teams over the past season reflects the commitment and support the club has received from coaching and staff at the UQ Sport Aquatic Centre,” Hawley said.
UQ Swim Club head coach David Heyden was adjudged Club Coach of the Year – notably, guiding 15-year-old swimmer Katja Dedekind to a bronze medal (Women’s S13 100m Backstroke) at the Rio Paralympics.
The event, held at the Regatta Hotel’s Boatshed Restaurant, was hosted by Fox Sports rugby commentator and Triple M radio host Greg Martin, with Cricket Australia’s General Manager of Team Performance Pat Howard as guest speaker.
Howard, a former Australian representative in rugby union, won back-to-back UQ Sportsman of the Year awards in 1993-94 for his achievements in rugby union.
UQ Sport 2017 Club and Sports Awards – Winners
Sportsman of the Year: Winner – Dane Bird-Smith (athletics); runner-up – Brenden Hall (swimming)
Sportswoman of the Year: Winner – Jacinta Carroll (water skiing); runner-up Maddison Keeney (diving)
Hulbert Bursary Award: Winner – UQ Boat Club; runner-up – UQ Beach Volleyball Club
President’s Cup: Winner – UQ Swim Club; runner-up – UQ Touch Football Club
Coach of the Year: Winner – David Heyden (UQ Swim Club); runner-up – Zoltan Shepherd (UQ Boat Club)
Club All-Rounder of the Year: Winner – Sophie Cotton (UQ Cheerleading Club); runner-up – Rachelle Sun (UQ Table Tennis Club)
Club Administrator of the Year: Winner – Stuart Parke (UQ Judo Club); runner-up – Cameron Chater – UQ Rugby Club
Club Volunteer of the Year: Winner – Edward Draydon (UQ Boat Club); runner-up – Danny Moore (UQ Tennis Club)