KISU coach Tina Hoeben has entered a new echelon winning a B.C. Swimming Award that no other female has earned — the Rubber Boot.
The Rubber Boot Award, according to Mark Schuett, executive director of Swim B.C., is seen as an unsung hero award within the coaching fraternity. The award is given out by the B.C. Coaches Association, an affiliate of Swim B.C., has been handed out since approximately 1994 and is voted on by other coaches.
“It’s a very prestigious award. It really is what your peers and your coach fraternity feel you did that year,” said Schuett. “It’s one of the most sought after awards.”
“Being the first ever female to win that award is a big deal,” said Hoeben, who was also named the Top 13 and under coach along with fellow KISU coach Theresa Zunich.
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Earning that award is special to Hoeben, as she said there have been a lot of great female coaches over the years.
“I hope I’m paving the way and that there will be the next female coach in a lot less than 30 years,” she said.
Chris Hindmarch-Watson, conference director for the B.C. Swim Coaches Association, said based on the votes she was a very worthwhile recipient with the year Hoeben had. Among her accomplishments is being named to the staff of the World Junior Championships in Indianapolis. KISU placing fourth at the Canadian Western Championships and third in the provincial championships.
“In my mind, there was no real other person that should have won it this year,” said Hindmarch-Watson.
He added it is a great equalizer for Hoeben to become the first female recipient.
“I think that it shows that this is a profession that anyone can succeed in,” he said.”I think that it shows it doesn’t matter if you are male or female, it just matters what you do with your athletes and how you coach them over the previous year. You are going to get recognition and respect from your peers.”
Along with the coaching awards, KISU also won Club of the Year during the banquet held in Whistler last weekend.
“I am super proud. I think we worked really hard and it was really nice to see us get acknowledged for all that we have achieved,” said Hoeben. “All of those are huge awards, and I’m thrilled to walk away with all of them. I would have been thrilled to walk away with one of them.”
Schuett said KISU receiving those awards is based on what they have done in growing the program and the quality of program they have built.
“From a performance standpoint, the athletes that are moving through the program are developing well, competing strongly both within the province and outside the province,” said Schuett.
With the awards that KISU has won, goals to strive for in the coming season will change. Hoeben wants to see the club live up to what they have accomplished and go beyond.
“There is still lots of room for us to become a better club, have more impact in our community and within the competitive swimming community as well.”