Summers-Newton and Dearing take honours at Sunday Times' Sportswomen Awards

18 Nov 2022

Maisie Summers-Newton and Alice Dearing were among the winners at The Sunday Times' Sportswomen of the Year Awards as aquatics athletes' impacts both in and out of the water were recognised. 

Double Paralympic champion Summers-Newton has continued her most successful year to date, as she was named Disability Sportswoman of the Year, with Tokyo Olympian Dearing winning the Changemaker Award for her work regarding diversity and inclusivity in the swimming world.

Twenty-year-old Summers-Newton 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.

The Citi Disability Sportswoman of the Year Award is given to the most outstanding performer in a disability sport, and Summers-Newton was delighted with her achievement when she spoke following the news - just a few days after winning the Outstanding Para-Swimmer prize at British Swimming: The Awards 2021-22, Supercharged by Speedo.

“ It feels incredible to win this award alongside some absolutely amazing sportswomen that have all achieved amazing things over the past year! Winning this award really just tops it all off," she said.

Olympic marathon swimmer and World Junior champion Dearing joined Summers-Newton on the winners list from Thursday night, with the Loughborough University athlete taking the Changemaker Award honour following her second successive nomination.

The Changemaker Award celebrates those who have inspired others and used their platforms to create change, with Dearing showing this to the highest degree. Throughout 2022, she collaborated with swim cap company Soul Cap to campaign about the wider issues regarding diversity and inclusivity in the swimming world, as well as continuing her work with the Black Swimming Association to ultimately show that swimming is for all. 

Speaking on her achievement, Dearing used the opportunity to push for even more progression in the area.

“I am very proud and honoured to have won the Changemaker of the year award at the Sportswomen of the Year Awards. It’s amazing that the work The Black Swimming Association, myself and my partners are doing to make swimming accessible and inclusive to all has been recognised and we are continuing to strive forward," she said.

"I want to implore everyone to take the opportunity to learn to swim if you get it and encourage others around you to do the same. It is a life skill which we should all get opportunity to access.”

Bethany Firth was also nominated for the Disability Sportswoman award, with the Northern Irish swimmer having taking three world gold medals in Portugal earlier this year, while Commonwealth and European champion Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix rounded off the representation from across British Swimming disciplines with her appearance in the Young Sportswoman category.

The judges for the awards also came with British Swimming representation, as double Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington was joined by five-time Paralympic champion Ellie Simmonds on the 12-strong panel.