Both Alice Dearing and Maisie Summers-Newton were on the honours list at the event in London last night, which are the oldest sports awards in Great Britain.
Olympic marathon swimmer and World Junior champion Dearing joined Summers-Newton on the winners list at the 2022 SJA British Sports Awards, sponsored by the National Lottery, with the Loughborough University athlete building on her impressive work for diversity and inclusion in swimming, as she was presented with the Sky Kick it Out award.
Dearing is Team GB’s first black female swimmer at an Olympics, and she has used this platform, alongside her status as co-founder of the Black Swimming Association, across 2022 to promote her initiatives, which included collaborating with swim cap company Soul Cap to campaign about the wider issues regarding diversity and inclusivity in the swimming world, to producing a documentary regarding the lack of diversity in swimming with Sky Sports, through their documentary “Aquaphobia”. Tom Daley also featured among the contenders shortlisted for the award.
Speaking to Sky Sports after picking up the award, Dearing had a strong message to give.
“I feel incredibly honoured and I’m really grateful to the SJA and to Sky for giving me this accolade. It’s incredible ad it’s really important to have an award like this because it displays to the sporting industry that there is space for equality, inclusion and diversity and that sport should be accessible to everybody – especially a sport like swimming that is a life skill.”
Twenty-year-old Summers-Newton was also a recipient at the ceremony, as she followed on from her two gold medals in Tokyo last year with a hat-trick of podium-topping performances at the 2022 Para-Swimming World Championships in Madeira, before also taking gold in the SB6 100m Breaststroke final at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
She received the SJA Bill McGowran Trophy for her achievements across the calendar year, as she looks forward towards 2023, which will see British para-swimmers descend on Manchester for the World Para-Swimming Championships.
Speaking on the news, Summers-Newton was full of praise for her team.
“It's an amazing feeling to be recognised at the SJA British Sports Awards. There's are so many female athletes, not just in para-swimming, but across all sports that have had an incredible year and so to take home the trophy is special.
"I'm super grateful to the team I have around me who have provided support at every step - helping me to balance my training and competitions alongside my teaching placements, and enabling me to thrive both in and out of the pool."
Full details from the #SJA2022 awards can be found here.