Junior gong tops great year for Gawned

Cameron NewboldAlbany Advertiser
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Junior Sportsperson of the Year winner Tom Gawned and award sponsor Charmaine Brown from Albany Finance.
Camera IconJunior Sportsperson of the Year winner Tom Gawned and award sponsor Charmaine Brown from Albany Finance. Credit: Laurie Benson

Emerging swimmer Tom Gawned capped off a sensational year in the pool, claiming his first Albany Junior Sportsperson of the Year from a quality list of 2018 finalists last Thursday night at Centennial Stadium.

After being a junior finalist in 2017, Gawned enjoyed a breakthrough 2018 with strong performances at national level to help him win the major award.

The 15-year-old made two finals at the Australian Age Championships, finishing fourth in the 200m backstroke as well as winning a bronze medal at the School Sport Australia National Championships and six State gold medals.

A member of the Albany Swim Club, Gawned said he was thrilled to hear his name read out among such a talented group of fellow juniors.

“It was a pretty sweet night,” he said.

“It felt like a good award to win for all the effort I’ve put in and all my achievements.

“When they were calling the (finalists) out I knew there was a pretty good chance they were going to call someone else’s name out.

“In 2018 mainly my performances at nationals and school sports stood out and my States performance was pretty good. At that level it was more about trying to place well in everything I went in.”

Junior Sports Person of the Year winner Tom Gawned accepts his award.
Camera IconJunior Sports Person of the Year winner Tom Gawned accepts his award. Credit: Laurie Benson Albany Advertiser

Gawned paid credit to his local coach Marshall McAleese, who has played a big role in his development as a swimmer.

“He’s probably the main reason I got it,” he said.

“Marshall’s the one that has pushed me and helped me recognise what I need to do to get where I want to go.

“I’m going to use this to help me focus on training harder and see how much better I can perform this year.”

Gawned won the Albany Finance sponsored junior category from a list of finalists that included tennis star Abbi Gibson, rugby’s Georgia Crosby, cycling sisters Emily and Danica Wiggins, and multi-talented athlete Sophie McDonald.

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