The World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year honors the woman who (1) best embodies the spirit of open water swimming, (2) possesses the sense of adventure, tenacity and perseverance that open water swimmers are known for, and (3) has most positively influenced the world of open water swimming during the year.
Her nomination from the World Open Water Swimming Association reads,
“Ana Marcela Cunha was consistently competitive throughout the year in all corners of the world. She is tenaciously tough in myriad conditions, warm and cold, rough and calm, fresh and salt. She is always spectacularly speedy down the finish against the world’s fastest swimmers. And the reigning 25K world champion does it with a broad smile on her face and a deep appreciation in her heart. With a pride to represent her native country well, the Brazilian Olympian does local races, domestic series, and won her second FINA 10K Marathon Swimming World Cup series title by swimming 8 pro marathons around the world from January to October. She garnered 4 victories in Israel, Mexico, Hong Kong and China as well as a second, two thirds and a sixth in Argentina, Brazil and Canada. Air miles, jet lag, time zone differences: none played a role in slowing the juggernaut down. For her boundless joy in traveling the world to race all-comers, for her victories against the world’s best, for her constant smile before and after races, Ana Marcela Cunha is a worthy nominee for the 2012 WOWSA Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year.”
The 2012 nominees are (listed in alphabetical order of their first name):
1. Ana Marcela Cunha (Brazil), World Professional Marathon Champion
2. Anna-Carin Nordin (Sweden), Oceans Seven Swimmer
3. Annaleise Carr (Canada), Young Marathon Swimmer
4. Catherine Vogt (USA), Dual Olympic Coach
5. Diana Nyad (USA), Xtreme Dreamer
6. Esther Nuñez Morera (Spain), Professional Marathon Swimming Champion
7. Grace van der Byl (USA), Marathon Record Breaker
8. Janel Jorgensen McArdle (USA), Swim Across America President
9. Julia Washbourne (Hong Kong), Eco-Swimming Aquapreneur
10. Karen Gaffney (USA), Swimming Philanthropist
11. Keri-Anne Payne (Great Britain), British Open Water Icon
12. Pat Gallant-Charette (USA), Channel Swimming Late Bloomer
13. Risztov Éva (Hungary), Olympic Champion
14. Shelley Taylor-Smith (Australia), Pioneering Administrator
15. Tina Neill (USA), San Clemente Channel Swimmer
Ana Marcela De Jesus S. Da Cunha is a world-class Brazilian open water swimmer who finished fifth in the 2008 Beijing Olympics 10K Marathon Swim and was the 2011 world 25 km champion. She is also one of the fastest swimmers in the FINA 10K Marathon Swimming World Cup circuit with victories from Brazil to Hong Kong. She was selected as FINA’s female open water swimmer of the year in 2010.
She has won numerous short-distance ocean swims during her career, including the Rei e Rainha Do Mar (King and Queen of the Sea) spring in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and won the 2012 FINA 10km Marathon Swimming World Cup series for the second time in her career.
Copyright © 2012 by Open Water Source