Thomas Lurz of Germany was among the 15 selected nominees for the 2012 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year that were announced today. The World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year honors the person 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.
His nomination from the World Open Water Swimming Association reads,
"For a decade, he has remained at or near the top of the FINA and Olympic worlds of open water swimming. Fast and fit, strategic and savvy, Thomas Lurz has won numerous world championships, 2 Olympic medals while losing only a handful of races in nearly every condition and continent. But win or lose, he shakes the hands of his fellow competitors, smiles at the crowds, and remains a gentleman in all respects. His athleticism and preparedness, his demeanor on land and his actions in the water have set the tone for the top echelon of elite professional marathon swimmers. The younger swimmers look at his style and learn from his racing tactics. They understand his tenacity and they respect his statesmanship he has achieved as an ambassador of the sport. Eloquent and expressive, Lurz takes the time to be a role model while continuing to be among the fastest in the world. For his decade of success, for his Olympic silver medal performance, and for setting the standard of professionalism in the sport, Thomas Lurz is a worthy nominee for the 2012 WOWSA Open Water Swimming Man of the Year."
The 2012 nominees are (listed in alphabetical order of their first name):
1. Benjamin Schulte (Guam) – Fearless Olympic Marathoner
2. Craig Dietz (USA) – The Limbless Waterman
3. Colin Hill (Great Britain) – Olympic Showman
4. Doug Woodring (Hong Kong) – Ocean Environmentalist
5. Milko van Gool (Netherlands) – Humanitarian Swimmer
6. Oussama Mellouli (Tunisia) – Olympic Champion
7. Pierre Lafontaine (Canada) – Able & Ambitious Administrator
8. Ram Barkai (South Africa) – Mindful Ice Man
9. Salvatore Cimmino (Italy) – Swimming in the Seas of the Globe
10. Stephen Redmond (Ireland) - Oceans Seven Pioneer
11. Thomas Lurz (Germany) - Ambassador and Gentleman
12. Trent Grimsey (Australia) - English Channel Record Breaker
13. Wayne Riddin (South Africa) – Midmar Mile Director
14. Wayne Soutter (South Africa) – The Unthinkable
15. Morrie Chiang (Taiwan) – Sun Lake Moon Director
The 2008 recipient was Randy Nutt of the USA. The 2009 recipient was Petar Stoychev of Bulgaria. The 2010 recipient was Marcos Diaz of the Dominican Republic. The 2011 recipient was Jamie Patrick of the USA.
Lurz is considered to be one of the best contemporary open water swimmers in the world. He won the silver medal at the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim at the 2012 London Olympics and a bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He is coached by his older brother Stefan Lurz.
His track record of success is extraordinarily impressive, built on the strength of his renowned training program with 25 international podium finishes to his name (Olympic Games, world championships and European championships), not including FINA World Cup medals. He competed for Germany at the 2004 Athens Olympics in the 1500-meter freestyle, but he was the world champion in the 10K open water swim in 2004. In 2005, he won gold in the 5K world championship when he was jointly awarded the Swimming World Magazine Open Water Swimmers of the Year. He also won the 2011 Swimming World Magazine Open Water Swimmer of the Year.
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