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,
"Risztov Éva’s versatility as an individual medley swimmer proved valuable as she shifted gears from being a world-class pool swimmer to an Olympic champion. In pulling off arguably the greatest upset of the 2012 London Olympic Games, Risztov gambled on a high-risk strategy that she executed to perfection and earned her long sought after gold by the slimmest of margins. Fourth at the 2004 Athens Olympics in the 400m individual medley, Risztov retired in 2005, feeling unfulfilled. But her hunger for an Olympic medal never waned and she returned as an open water swimmer in 2009. She didn’t immediately rocket to stardom. Rather, she paid her dues and learned along the way: getting bumped, beaten and red-carded. With a steely resolve and abundant confidence in London, she mimicked the favorite's winning strategy by going out fast, avoiding the physicality in the front, and facing down her rivals. For her long-held belief in her gold medal potential, for her humble willingness to shift disciplines, and for her risk-taking plan that turned the tables on the fast marathon swimming field in history, Risztov’s Éva 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
Risztov is the 2012 London Olympics marathon swimming gold medalist who transformed herself from a world-class pool swimmer. She was previously ranked 85th on the 2011 FINA 10KM Marathon Swimming World Cup circuit and quickly shot up the rankings winning the first 2012 European Open Water Swimming Cup race in Eilat, Israel, and then the Olympic 10km Marathon Swim in London. She won four silver medals at the 2002 European Swimming Championships and three silver medals at the 2003 World Swimming Championships. She won another silver medal at the 2004 European Swimming Championships and competed at the 2004 Athens Olympics where she came 4th in 400m individual medley. At the European Short Course Swimming Championships she won six gold medals, one silver medal and one bronze medal between 2002 and 2004. She retired in 2005, but announced her comeback in 2009 as an open water swimmer and she competed at the 2010 European Swimming Championships in the 10 km where she came 7th.
She remains in training and looks to continue to open water swimming career.
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