Australian Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honors Suzy Toner

Courtesy of Australian Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame.

Chris Guesdon and Gary Toner announced Suzy Toner as a member of the inaugural Class of 2020 in the Australian Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame.

Suzy Toner with Grant Robinson

They explained, “The Australian Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame next inductee is Suzy Toner who is a contributor to the sport as a coach and handler. Coach Suzy Toner and her husband Gary had a significant impact on open water swimming producing the most marathon swimmers from one club (7) to represent Australia in 25 km events and longer.

The Toner coaching team created a team environment where at the State and National Open Water championships, they would take 20 or more athletes winning the open water point score numerous times. This team philosophy created a nursery of future marathon swimmers and a passion for marathon swimming. Suzy was one of the few women to be selected to coach and handle on an Australian national open water team. Suzy attended many marathon swims around the world including the FINA World Open Water Championships in Australia in 1998, Pan Pacific Championships in Japan, FINA World Cups in South America, Europe and the USA.

Suzy handled for Grant Robinson at the FINA World Championships in 1998 where he finished 7th and was part of the 25 km team with Mark Saliba, Tracey Knowles, and Melissa Cunningham finishing with a silver medal at the FINA World Championships in Perth in 1998. Suzy and Grant won gold at the Pan Pacs 25 km in Fukuoka in 1997.

Handling for Grant and winning the the FINA World Cup 25 km in 1996 in Evian, France was career highlight. This race took the world by surprise and put Grant and Suzy on the world stage. Grant won by a whopping 6 minutes leading home many athletes that are in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame. Suzy’s race strategy kept Grant out of the pack and they took a different line for this swim which starts in France and swims across Lake Lucerne to Switzerland and then back to France. This also led to the Australian team taking gold for the team’s event with Melissa Cunningham, Joe Mitchell, and Shelley Taylor-Smith. Suzy then traveled with the Australian team to Malta and Italy and was part of the recording breaking and winning 93 km Malta-to-Sicily relay, and handling for Grant winning the 36 km Ponza marathon in Italy.

Suzy and Grant continued the winning formula at the 28 km Tapes Marathon Swim in a Brazil World Cup, and finished 6th in the 57 km Maratón Acuática Internacional Santa Fe – Coronda World Cup event in 1998.

The Toner team coached Grant Robinson and Kelly Driffield to set a Guinness World Record for swimming in 24 hours which are still standing today 23 years later. Suzy took key role in making sure the swimmers were fed and watered during the 24-hour swim where she never left the poolside.

In Australia, races took Suzy Toner all over the country including Rottnest Island, Magnetic Island, Penrith Regatta Centre, Manly Dam, Morwell Victoria, Swan River, Murray River, Glenelg Beach, City of Perth, Bond University, Lake Trevallyn in Tasmania, and various Sydney locations racing in rivers, lakes, oceans and dams.

Suzy recently coached and handled for swimmers competing in the 20 km Great Keppel Island Swim in August 2020. Team Toner currently coach and handle for a group of adult marathon swimmers on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland. In Suzy’s role at the the John Wallace Swim School in Caloundra where she currently coaches the development age group and adults squads. Suzy is still actively paddling with her team in the ocean weekly and attending open water races with her team.

Suzy has been a coach on various New South Wales swim teams and camps from 1994 to 1999 for open water and is a silver recognised ASCTA Swim Coach with Open Water accreditation. Suzy was also a silver medalist in the 1995 Australian Open Water Championships over 8 km held at Bond University.
Suzy was also inducted into the University of the South (Tennessee) Hall of Fame for Swimming in 2013 for her record-breaking career in the pool at the University.

The inaugural class of Australian Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame honourees inducted on August 2020 include:

Australian Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honourees – Class of 2020:
* Jennifer Anderson
* Lauren Arndt
* David Bates
* Clive Berry Rickards
* Kate Brookes-Peterson
* Roger Bruce
* Tamara Bruce
* Richard Campion
* Brendan Capell
* Graeme Carroll
* Cavill Family
* Melissa Cunningham
* William Ford
* Melissa Gorman
* Trent Grimsey
* Christopher Guesdon
* Susanne Guesdon
* Kevin Holtom
* Annette Kellerman
* Tracy Knowles
* John Koorey
* Susie Maroney OAM
* Chloë McCardel
* Linda McGill MBE
* Joseph Mitchell
* Lynton Mortensen
* David O’Brien OAM
* Penny Palfrey
* James Pittar
* Des Renford MBE
* Grant Robinson
* Rottnest Channel Swim Association
* Mark Saliba
* Josh Santacaterina
* Shelley Taylor-Smith
* Gary Toner
* Suzanne Toner

For more information, visit the Australian Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Facebook here with Instagram @amshofame.

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