6 November 2014
World champion swimmer and Paralympic gold medallist Blake Cochrane has become the first back-to-back winner of the USC Sportsperson of the Year trophy.
The 23-year-old Clinical Exercise Science student from Buderim received the honour at USC’s annual Sports Awards Ceremony today in recognition of his outstanding achievements over the past year.
These included winning four gold medals at the Para Pan Pacific Championships in the 200m individual medley, 100m breaststroke, 50m freestyle S8 and 4x100m freestyle relay, and claiming bronze in the 200m individual medley SM8 at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
Cochrane is a member of Swimming Australia’s High Performance Paralympic Program, based at USC, and is currently ranked number one in the world for the 50m and 100m breaststroke SB7 and number three for the 200m individual medley.
He began 2014 on a high note, earning both a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) and the Senior Sunshine Coast Sports Star of the Year award in January.
Cochrane received his trophy yesterday from Commonwealth Games dual gold medal pole vaulter Alana Boyd, who took time out from preparations for the 2015 World Athletics Championships in Beijing to address the ceremony and inspire athletes from a range of sports.
The Team of the Year award went to USC’s women’s futsal team, which won gold at both the Northern University Games on the Sunshine Coast in July and the Australian University Games in Sydney last month.
Full Blue awards for ongoing outstanding achievement went to Paralympic wheelchair basketball champion Bridie Kean and swimmers Jacob Templeton and Michael Anderson.
Half Blue awards for sporting excellence went to Caitlin Gilliman for sprint kayaking, Kyle Townsend and Rebekah Horsey for futsal, Cameron Taylor for taekwondo, Grace Wilkins for rugby 7s and international student Patarawadee Kittiya for swimming.
This last athlete is a member of the Thai national team and won two gold medals at the recent South East Asian Games in the 200m butterfly and 4x100m freestyle relay.
Continued excellence awards went to both Cochrane and fellow swimmer Tessa Wallace, who was a finalist in the 200m breaststroke at the Commonwealth Games.
A Green Award, in recognition of a student’s outstanding team spirit, leadership and contribution to the success of USC sport, went to Sport and Exercise Science student Yoel Jogiono, 21, who managed and coached USC’s successful women’s and men’s futsal teams.
— Jane Cameron