(ST. JOHN'S, N.L.) - At the 2014 Subway AUS swimming championship banquet held Thursday evening at the Holiday Inn Hotel in St. John's, N.L., UPEI's Suzanne Nicholson and Memorial's Peter Gregory 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 Toronto.
Student-athletes and banquet guests heard from St. John's native Paula Kelly, member of the 1980 Canadian Olympic team, who was inducted into the Newfoundland and Labrador Sports Hall of Fame in 1993.
Event honorary chair Dr. Ralph Wheeler, who is a former Memorial swimmer, varsity coach and long-time professor, also addressed the group of AUS banner hopefuls at tonight's banquet.
"Dr. Wheeler has been an outstanding builder of the sport of swimming at Memorial and in our province and Paula's accomplishments speak for themselves," said Memorial manager of athletics John Harvey. "We are pleased that he is acting as our honorary chair for the championship and our group was happy to hear from both him and Paula tonight."
STUDENT-ATHLETE COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARD (Female): Suzanne Nicholson, UPEI
The 2013-14 recipient of the AUS female student-athlete community service award is UPEI's Suzanne Nicholson.
Nicholson, a native of Bedford, N.S., is a fourth-year business student in her fifth year of eligibility. She has been a valued member of the Panthers' swim squad for the past five seasons.
This year, Nicholson set in motion a momentous fundraising event for her UPEI swim team. She ventured to swim across the Northumberland Strait, collecting donations from her community and Panthers supporters.
All told, Nicholson raised over $11,000 to support the current season. The Northumberland Strait crossing took her just over five hours of continuous swimming, braving the elements the entire way.
"Her unstoppable team spirit and support makes Suzanne Nicholson a worthy recipient of this award," said UPEI swim coach Bill Calhoun. "She has always been a huge supporter of not only the swim team but all other teams on campus."
STUDENT-ATHLETE COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARD (Male): Peter Gregory, Memorial
Peter Gregory of the Memorial University Sea-Hawks is the 2013-14 AUS male student-athlete community service award recipient.
Gregory is a fourth-year biochemistry student in his third year of eligibility, hailing from St. Philips, N.L.
He has been volunteering with the weekly Special Olympics swimming program for two years. He volunteers his time with both the Learn to Swim program and coaching athletes with previous swimming experience.
Since 2013, he has also been volunteering with the local hospital, assisting with meals and visiting with patients. He often takes those he visits out for walks and them brings reading materials.
"Along with maintaining a very high GPA and performance level with the Memorial Sea-Hawks men's swim team, Peter also finds time to volunteer with two very worthwhile organizations every week," said Sea-Hawks head swim coach Aaron Dahl. "He has used his love of swimming to try and inspire the swimmers he works with and has created a special bond with these athletes over the past two years."
The 2014 Subway AUS swimming championships are being hosted by Memorial University in St. John's, N.L., Feb. 7-9 and will be webcast live at www.AUStv.ca.
Live results from each event will be available at http://www.swimnl.nfld.net/meetresultslive/2014aus/ with the full results posted at the conclusion of each day at www.atlanticuniversitysport.com.
The 2014 CIS swimming championships will be hosted by the University of Toronto, Feb. 20-22, 2014. For more information, visit: http://english.cis-sic.ca/championships/swim/index.