24 October 2012
Olympic swimmer Tessa Wallace of Caloundra has been crowned the University of the Sunshine Coast’s 2012 Sportsperson of the Year.
Wallace, 19, became the Australian 200m breaststroke champion at the 2012 Olympic trials in Adelaide in March and was a semi-finalist in this event at the London Olympics.
To make the Australian team was a huge achievement for the Bachelor of Communication student, who overcame a serious knee injury and a bout of Ross River fever that almost forced her to quit the sport.
As well as winning the trophy for Sportsperson of the Year, Wallace was also one of four students to gain Full Blue awards at today’s USC Sports Awards Ceremony.
The other recipients were international kayak competitor Stacey Higgins and outrigger canoeists Mitchell Olds and Jenaya Davis.
Half Blue awards went to Queensland surf lifesaving champion and Coolangatta Gold winner Ali Day, mixed touch player Ashleigh Solomon and sprinter Luke Grimley.
Grimley was also a member of USC’s men’s athletics team – along with Ben Hayward, Christian Mackenzie and Tommy Connolly – that won a swag of gold medals at the recent Australian University Games. This team was named the University’s 2012 Team of the Year.
For the second year in a row, Cameron Sullivan received a special USC Green Award for his efforts as touch football coordinator at the University this year.
Guest speaker at the ceremony was Paralympic swimmer Blake Cochrane, who spoke about his experiences of winning two gold medals at the London Games in August-September.
The tradition of universities honouring their sporting champions with Half Blue and Full Blue awards dates back to 1829, when rowing teams from Oxford and Cambridge universities each tied a blue scarf – one light blue and one dark blue – to their boats to distinguish themselves.
— Terry Walsh