Swimming’s own Ariarne Titmus has been nominated for the Sport Australia Hall of Fame coveted ‘The Don’ award.
The 19-year-old will vie for the prestigious accolade alongside eight of the country’s best athletes, with the winner to be announced next week – Thursday 10 October – at the 35th Induction and Awards Gala Dinner in Melbourne.
This year’s nominees also include tennis grand slam champions Dylan Alcott OAM and Ashleigh Barty, 2018 NRL premiership hero Cooper Cronk, three-time Tour de France stage winner Caleb Ewan, 2018 world surfing champion Stephanie Gilmore, Bathurst 1000 2018 winner Craig Lowndes OAM and Ashes winners Ellyse Perry and Tim Paine.
Titmus achieved a stunning upset to defeat the legendary Katie Ledecky in the Women’s 400m Freestyle at the 2019 World Swimming Championships and in doing so, became the first Australian woman since Tracey Wickham OAM MBE in 1978 to win the title.
The teenager powered home in the final 100 metres to overtake Ledecky to pull off one of the greatest upsets – the American had not been beaten in the 400m, 800m or 1500m freestyle at a major international meet since 2012.
Titmus completed the championships with two gold, one silver and one bronze, and in the process, anchored the women’s 4x200m freestyle relay team to secure a new world record.
Upon receiving the nomination, the Tasmanian native said she was humbled to be considered for the award alongside such tremendous company.
“I swim because I love it, and representing our country is an honour I hold very high,” she said.
“As little as two years ago, I never thought I would be in this position nominated alongside some of Australia’s greatest athletes. To me, being nominated for the Don Award means that not only am I doing myself and my family proud, I am inspiring the people of Australia which completely humbles me.
“Sir Donald Bradman pushed the boundaries in the game of cricket and has since inspired generations of athletes and sport lovers. For this award to be named after him, I believe he is arguably Australia’s greatest sporting hero. His achievements will continue to inspire our country for many, many years.”
Swimming Australia CEO Leigh Russell congratulated Titmus on her nomination.
“Swimming Australia is thrilled to hear that Ariarne has been nominated for the prestigious Don award, it is a huge honour her and our sport.
“Ariarne’s performances this year have been incredible, and she should be immensely proud to be nominated in the company of some of Australia’s most inspiring sporting stories and athletes of 2019.”
The finalists are the ‘who’s who’ of Australian sport and their performances during the 2018-2019 nomination period provide a summary of the highlights of Australian sport during that period.
Importantly, their performances reflect the standards of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame’s first Inductee, the late Sir Donald Bradman AC, and The Don is awarded annually to the athlete or team who, through their performance and example has most inspired the nation.