The award is meant to honor efforts or swims – successful or not, short or long – that (1) best embody the spirit of open water swimming, (2) are representative of the sense of adventure, tenacity and perseverance that open water swimmers are known for, and (3) have most positively influenced the world of open water swimming.
Their nomination from the World Open Water Swimming Association reads,
“The Night Train Swimmers not only raised a mind-boggling US$1.2 million (and counting for Semper Fi) in its non-stop 339-mile (546 km) charity swim attempt down the California coast from San Francisco to Santa Barbara, but they also endured 6 days of non-stop swimming through endless blooms of venomous jellyfish and water than never got above 14°C. Hour after hour, day after day, the six swimmers – Phil Cutti, Patti Bauernfeind, Dave Holsher, Joseph Locke, Kim Chambers and Zack Jirkovsky – battled the elements under the watchful eye of Captain Vito Bialla. They followed channel swimming rules, always mindful that their temporary discomforts were helping injured soldiers whose lifetimes are filled with discomfort. Although Mother Nature won this skirmish when the hardened group of intrepid adventurers was stopped after 109 hours by endless blooms of venomous jellyfish, the victory was ultimately theirs. For the audacity of their vision, for their charitable efforts on behalf of men and women in uniform, for the US$1.2 million raised, the indomitable Night Train Swimmers are worthy nominees for the 2012 WOWSA Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year..”
The nominations are meant to recognize and honor some of the best efforts and swims that the global open water swimming world has seen. Reducing the number of nominees to 15 was extraordinarily difficult due to the incredible efforts and exploits of thousands of women in the sport. Extreme swimmers, disabled swimmers, ice swimmers, marathon swimmers, professional swimmers, administrators, coaches, pilots, and swimmers from all walks of life thoroughly impressed their peers, the public and the media with their open water swimming exploits throughout 2012.
The 2009 recipient of the World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year was the Cayman Islands’ Andrew Smiley who completed the RCP Tiburon Mile in San Francisco, California. The 2010 recipient was the 202-mile relay swim by the Ventura Deep Six that swam down the coast of California. The 2011 recipient was Tunisia’s Nejib Belhedi who swam the 1400K Swim Across Tunisia.
The 2012 WOWSA Performance of the Year nominees are
(listed in alphabetical order of their first name):
1. Alina Warren (Scotland), Swimming Great Glen Way
2. Brenton Williams (South Africa), Deep Blue Flying
3. Dan Projansky (USA), Flying Down The Red River
4. Dutch Ladies First (Netherlands), English Channel Relay Record
5. Frank Flowers (Cayman Islands), Blossoming In The Cayman Islands
6. Haley Anderson (USA), Silver Lining At the Olympics
7. James Pittar (Australia), Shelley Beach Swim
8. Juan Ignacio Martínez Fernández-Villamil (Spain), The Heart of Navia
9. Lexie Kelly (USA), Open Water Swimming Archivist
10. Night Train Swimmers (USA/New Zealand), SF to SB Relay
11. Penny Palfrey (Australia), Marathon Adventurer
12. Philippe Coizon (France), Bering Strait Crossing
13. Saint Martin Island Long Distance Channel Swimming in Bangladesh
14. Stephen Redmond (Ireland), Tsugaru Channel Crossing
15. Trent Grimsey (Australia), English Channel Record
The Night Train Swimmers is a group of San Francisco Bay Area-based extreme open water swimmers who work together to improve the lives of people around the world by raising money for various non-profit organizations. This all-volunteer organization was founded in 2008 with a five-person relay crossing of the English Channel. It has since grown in membership and impact each year since with marathon relay swims in the Sea of Cortez in Mexico, Lake Powell bordering the states of Arizona and to the Farallon Islands off the coast of San Francisco.
The Lifehouse Foundation was the first recipient of Night Train Swimmers’ support of people with developmental disabilities. Later, the Night Train Swimmers completed a relay swim from Sacramento to Tiburon to raise money for the Reed School Foundation, supporting their local public school district. The following year, the team stepped up to raise money for Wounded Warrior Project.
Copyright © 2012 by Open Water Source