Commonwealth medallist wins top University sports award

Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Lewis Clareburt has won Sportsperson of the Year at the 2018 Victoria University of Wellington sports awards.

Lewis Clareburt and his coach Gary Hollywood
Lewis Clareburt (left) and his coach Gary Hollywood.

In addition to the top award, the 19-year-old also took home Māori Sportsperson of the Year and a Blues Award that recognises his international achievements in swimming.

Presented annually in partnership with Victoria University of Wellington Students' Association (VUWSA), the Blues Awards are the highest sporting accolade the University can give to students who have brought credit to the institution through their sporting achievements or contribution to sport.

55 awards were presented to the University’s top athletes, sports clubs and administrators at last night’s ceremony.

Lewis, named Sportsperson of the Year, is the first recipient of Victoria University of Wellington’s Swimming Scholarship.

He juggled his first year of part-time study toward a Bachelor of Commerce with competing in swimming internationally and nationally.

At the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in April he won a bronze medal in the men's 400m Individual Medley race and beat his personal best time by four seconds. At the Pan Pacific championships in Tokyo in August he placed fifth in the same event, and at the New Zealand Open Championships in July he won four gold and two silver medals and a bronze.

Maile Koloto was named Pasifika Sportsperson of the Year.

While studying towards a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Finance and Marketing, Maile played for the for New Zealand Universities rugby team that toured Japan and Singapore. He also played in the Old Boys-University (OBU) rugby club’s Premier team, crowned Jubilee Cup champions for the third time in four years.

A new Blues Award was added this year, Sports Club of the Year, which went to the Victoria University Rowing Club.

The club had a landmark year with successful results, events and growth. Seven club members were selected to represent New Zealand in the University Trans-Tasman rowing team. Nearly 60 rowers competed at the University Rowing Championships at Lake Karapiro in April, and 25 rowers competed in the Battle of the Bombay’s rowing regatta in Hamilton in August. In addition, the club celebrated its 90th anniversary with a special regatta on Wellington harbour and an evening alumni reunion.

Michelle Schurmann was named Sports Administrator of the Year.

As President of the club for the past three years, Physical Geography student Michelle has organised trips, developed succession plans for gear and courses, implemented a handbook and safety procedures, and put forward submissions on behalf of the club regarding conservation issues. Michelle also organised ‘Wahine Weekend’—an event to encourage women to get outdoors and raise money for the Breast Cancer Foundation.

The 2018 Victoria University of Wellington Blues Award recipients:

Sportsperson of the Year and Māori Sportspersons of the Year

  • Lewis Clareburt for swimming

Pasifika Sportsperson of the Year

  • Maile Koloto for rugby

Sports Club of the Year

  • Victoria University Rowing Club

Sports Administrator of the Year

  • Michelle Schurmann, Victoria University Canoe Club

Blue Awards

  • Andrew Fitzpatrick-Cockram
  • Anna Burns
  • Ben Wade
  • Charlotte Eastman
  • Claudia Barham
  • Ellie Molloy
  • Emma Doile
  • Emma Fell
  • Estelle Macadre
  • Fran Grange
  • Georgia Hansen
  • Harriet McFetridge
  • Isaac Harper
  • Isaac Rusholme Cobb
  • Jack Stone
  • Jake Neill
  • James Preston
  • Joseph Karaitiana
  • Lewis Clareburt
  • Li Yeoh
  • Libby Bradley
  • Lisa Yue
  • Luc Saker
  • Madeleine Nash
  • Maile Koloto
  • Mohsen Maddah
  • Moira Macdonald
  • Nathan Tse
  • Olivia Boniface
  • Olivia Werry
  • Oscar Battell-Wallace
  • Reed Prinsep
  • Rose Biddiscombe
  • Ryan Drake
  • Sarah Alder
  • Seamus Anderson Kane
  • Shakked Noy
  • Stephanie Lynch
  • Summer Turia
  • Taison Pelman
  • Tamara Jenkin
  • Thomas Withnall
  • Valerie Chan
  • William Tremain
  • Zoe Risner

Sports Club Blue Awards

  • Victoria University of Wellington Athletics Club
  • Victoria University Canoe Club
  • Victoria University of Wellington Floorball Club
  • Victoria University of Wellington Association Football Club
  • Victoria University Netball Club (Team Vic Netball)
  • Victoria University Rowing Club

Sports Administration Blue Awards

  • Aleisha Amohia
  • Henry Lee
  • Glen Tarboton
  • Michelle Schurmann