Dressage luminary Lauren Rowe shines at South West Academy of Sport annual awards night

Bernice Butlion and Sean Van Der WielenSouth Western Times
Lauren Rowe, left, received the Individual Female Athlete of the Year Award alongside the SWAS Sports Star of the Year accolade.
Camera IconLauren Rowe, left, received the Individual Female Athlete of the Year Award alongside the SWAS Sports Star of the Year accolade. Credit: David Bailey

Dressage luminary Lauren Rowe shone brightly amid a constellation of exceptional junior athletes from across the region earlier this month, claiming the prestigious Sports Star of the Year title at the South West Academy of Sport’s annual awards night.

During a year brimming with accomplishments, Rowe deftly balanced her rise to prominence as an international sensation with the rigours of university life.

The gala event brought together promising young athletes and their supporters, who eagerly anticipated the unveiling of this year’s coveted accolades.

Among the distinguished winners were Andy Longmore who was recognised as the Wally Foreman Coach of the Year and athletics prodigy Rhianna Di Giuseppe who was crowned SWAS’s Emerging Star.

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Rising surf lifesaving star Joel Doddy captured the Community Achiever award, while hockey ace Luke Blee and netball sensation Grace Millichamp claimed the esteemed titles of Team Athletes of the Year.

Athletics competitor Thomas Cross and Lauren Rowe once again stood out, respectively securing the titles of Individual Male and Female Athletes of the Year.

Teneille Watson was honoured with the inaugural Connor Lambert Memorial Award for her noteworthy contributions to the community.

SWAS chief executive Bernice Butlion lauded all the award recipients.

“The calibre of our winners — and our athletes at large — underscores the rich talent pool in the South West, lifted by the exceptional support available in our region,” she said.

“The achievements of our winners fill us with pride, and we extend our wishes as they continue to pursue their sporting endeavours.”

Adding to the glitz and glamour of the evening were former SWAS athlete and 2024 Olympic open water swim competitor Kyle Lee joining fellow alumnus and professional surfer Bronte MacCaulay alongside retired Olympian and Commonwealth Games bronze medalist Ryan Bailie in an insightful guest panel.

Bunbury MLA Don Punch addressed the audience with words of encouragement.

This dazzling event was made possible through the generous support of sponsors including The Apprentice and Traineeship Company (gold sponsor), Hexion Australia (silver sponsor), Summit Realty South West (silver sponsor), Nexus Advisernet (silver sponsor), RCR Mining Technologies (silver sponsor), OnSite Rental Group (silver sponsor), The Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries and Intersport Bunbury (bronze sponsors).

2023 SWAS Award Winners:

  • Sports Star of the Year – Lauren Rowe (Dressage)
  • Wally Foreman Coach of the Year – Andrew Longmore (Soccer)
  • Community Achiever of the Year – Joel Doddy (Surf Lifesaving)
  • Emerging Star of the Year – Rhianna Di Giuseppe (Athletics)
  • Team Male Athlete of the Year – Luke Blee (Hockey)
  • Team Female Athlete of the Year – Grace Millichamp (Netball)
  • Individual Male Athlete of the Year – Thomas Cross (Athletics)
  • Individual Female Athlete of the Year – Lauren Rowe (Dressage)
  • Inaugural Connor Lambert Memorial Award – Teneille Watson

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