The nominees are presented in the following four categories:
2013 WOWSA Open Water Swimming
Man of the Year Nominees
- Alexander Brylin, Ice Swimmer from Siberia (Russia)
- Damián Blaum, Around The World Marathoner (Argentina)
- Darren Miller, Achieving the Oceans Seven (U.S.A.)
- Doug Woodring, Energetic Environmentalism (Hong Kong)
- Glen Christiansen, Recovering from Trauma (Sweden)
- Jim McConica, Ageless Wonder (U.S.A.)
- Jose Diaz, Horizontes Sin Fronteras (Spain)
- Mally Richards, 60 Years In The Making (South Africa)
- Oussama Mellouli, Olympic Ambassador (Tunisia)
- Pádraig Mallon, Extraordinaire Event Director & Swimmer (Ireland)
- Rafael Gutiérrez Mesa, Getting Things Strait in Gibraltar (Spain)
- Thomas Lurz, World Champion (Germany)
- Tomi Stefanovski, Mastering the Traversee (Macedonia)
- Vojislav Mijić, Tirelessly Resilient Race Director (Serbia)
- Wayne Riddin, Midmar Mile Miracle (South Africa)
1. Alexander Brylin, Ice Swimmer (Russia)
Alexander Brylin is always pushing his body to the nether regions. In addition to helping organize for years and finally participate in the 6-day Bering Strait Swim between Russia and Alaska, Brylin swam an incredible 2,200 meters straight in 0.3°C water with the air at – 30°C at the Russian Winter Swimming Championships in Tyumen. Seemingly impervious to the cold, the strong-willed, physically hardened ice swimmer is supreme at water temperatures just above freezing. For his love of this extreme open water swimming niche, for his understanding of how to swim safely and avoid submission to hypothermia, for his ability to bring ice swimmers together from around the world, Alexander Brylin is a worthy nominee for the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.
2. Damián Blaum, Around the World Marathoner (Argentina)
He pushes and pushes. Damian Blaum knows his profession requires him to be constantly uncomfortable, either too cold or too warm. Stings and soreness, jet lag and discomfort are his calling cards as he travels the world as a professional marathon swimmer. After 8 tough marathon swims, Blaum was crowned the FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix champion. His income depends on racing success, he races his friends and colleagues while competing together with his wife Esther Nunez Morena. Win or lose, his wide smile is his trademark, his positive attitude is his fuel. For his breakthrough year as the FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix world champion, for his participation in races around the world always accommodating to race directors and fans, for his upbeat spirit second to none, Damian Blaum is a worthy nominee for the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.
3. Darren Miller, Achieving the Oceans Seven (U.S.A.)
7 up, 7 down. It was a perfect score in 2013 for Darren Miller, a former sprint freestyler. The personable banker and motivational speaker achieved the Oceans Seven like no one else in history: each one of his channel attempts resulted in success. But his personal goal to become the fourth person in history to cross the world’s 7 mightiest channels was augmented by his drive to raise money for those less fortunate than himself. Completing his charity swims on a global scale, Miller spread good cheer and accomplished plenty of good while motivating others to achieve their potential. For his road well-traveled with hypothermia threats, for his fund-raising efforts, and for his constant good cheer in spite of constant physiological risks, Darren Miller is a worthy nominee for the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.
4. Doug Woodring, Environmentalist and Ocean Advocate (Hong Kong)
Improving the marine environment is in Doug Woodring’s blood. Year-round, Woodring is relentless in seeking practical solutions to the escalating problem of pollution. He just does not lecture and preach mindful living; he sets practical examples of how to reduce plasticity that are being increasingly replicated at sporting events and open water swims. In addition to his trend-setting Clean Half Extreme Marathon Swim and Sheko Challenge, Woodring has also introduced the San Francisco Ocean Film Festival, The Ocean Walk, and Aerial Art to Hong Kong, as well as the Cold Half Extreme Marathon Swim, The Five and The Cold Standard. By enabling athletes and their supporters to enjoy a variety of competitive sports while learning how to adopt a green mindset, Woodring fulfills his two primary missions. For his unwavering and creative focus on resolving the growing menace of marine pollution, and for tying open water swimming with environmental solutions, Doug Woodring is a worthy nominee for the 2013 WOWSA Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.
5. Glen Christiansen, Recovering From Trauma (Sweden)
Glen Christiansen was crumbled at the bottom of the stairs with blood oozing from his ears, nose, and eyes. For nearly 4 weeks, he was in a coma, and for weeks later he remained in intensive care with a bacterial infection. When he woke, his entire left side was paralyzed and he could not talk. Yet the 1980 Swedish Olympian was not about to prove his doctor’s prognostications correct by never talking or walking again. Instead, he acted like a warrior and went to battle with his weakened and traumatized body. He had a tremendous spirit and will to improve and return to coaching swimmers. Within 6 months, Christiansen was back coaching and competing in the open water against people half his age. For his positive mindset, his inspiration to never give up in spite of traumatic physical setbacks, for his example of following his own advice as a coach and motivator, Glen Christiansen is a worthy nominee for the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.
6. Jim McConica, The Ageless Wonder (USA)
Records are meant to be broken and that is what Jim McConica does. In the pool and the ocean, domestically and internationally, from Anacapa Island to Santa Cruz Island, 62-year-old Jim McConica has been setting standards for decades. While his track record of success is impressive, his records will not last as long as his undeniable legacy of helping and motivating his peers and younger generations of swimmers. Day in and day out, McConica remains the inspiration in his home pool in Ventura, California and neighboring Pacific Ocean by working out and helping out. For his new world record set over 19 miles from Santa Cruz to the California mainland, for his indescribably fast, intense daily workouts that inspire others, for his undeniable leadership among pool and open water swimmers, both young and old, Jim McConica is a worthy nominee for the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.
7. Jose Diaz, Horizontes Sin Fronteras (Spain)
Nadandolibre is all about inclusion and passion. Based on the creation and passion of Jose Diaz, Nadandolibre does its absolute best to bring color, attention, and creativity to the sport of open water swimming. From newcomers to butterflyers, Diaz and his collaborators at Nadandolibre coach athletes, organize events, promote channel crossings, and enliven the sport through music, books, and online campaigns. His work elicits smiles and interest from a growing global audience. For his support of Hector Ramirez Ballesteros’ unprecedented Strait of Gibraltar’s butterfly crossing, for his open water DNA overflowing with enthusiasm, for his multi-talented creativity, Jose Diaz is a worthy nominee for the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.
8. Mally Richards, A Diamond in the Rough Water (South Africa)
Decade after decade, Mally Richards takes his traditional spot on the line-up for the SPAR River Mile Festival. He smiles, he waves, he acknowledges the competition. But after 60 years of attending and participating in the oldest open water swimming event in Africa, this year the 80-year-old swimmer stands alone in terms of longevity at a single event. Since he started participating as a teenager in 1947, he has set a standard and plays a role model of good living in Jeffreys Bay, South Africa. For his unadulterated joy in swimming, for his goals to swim until he passes away, for his participating in open water events together with his son and grandsons, Mally Richards is a worthy nominee for the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.
9. Oussama Mellouli, Cross-over Champion (Tunisia)
He is arguably the most well-known swimmer in the world while serving as the role model of the entire Arabic-speaking world. The sole Olympic gold medalist from an Arab country in both the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games, Oussama Mellouli is an icon. A cross-over athlete who has shared world championship and Olympic success both between the lines in chlorinated environs and along the shorelines in open water venues, Mellouli has achieved unprecedented aquatic success. Multi-lingual and multi-cultural, Mellouli is an ambassador like few others. Personable and eloquent on land, he is equal parts stamina, speed, strength, and savvy in the water. For his willingness to swim anywhere anytime, for the ambassadorial role he takes among the youth of the sport and race directors worldwide, for his incredible physical talents, Oussama Mellouli is a worthy nominee of the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.
10. Pádraig Mallon, Extraordinaire Event Director & Swimmer (Ireland)
Pádraig Mallon works at a feverish pace year-round. Not only was the understated Irish personality busy swimming across the most notorious channel in the world, the North Channel from Ireland to Scotland, but he did so only 6 weeks after crossing the English Channel. If the water was cold, rough and jellyfish-strewn, Mallon was game. He also became Northern Ireland’s first certified ice swimmer and participated in the Russian Winter Swimming Championships. He also brings the joy and challenge of the open water to others: neoprene or bioprene, competitive or fitness. Mallon was one of the organisers of the 2013 Irish Marathon Swim Series and the multiple-event Camlough Lake Water Festival. For his commitment to the sport, for his unselfish attitude and joy in bringing others to the sport, and for his own athletic accomplishments in the cold, rough waters of the British Isles, Pádraig Mallon is a worthy nominee for the 2013 WOWSA Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.
11. Rafael Gutiérrez Mesa, Getting Things Strait in Gibraltar (Spain)
He delivers smiles and helps achieve dreams. By safely escorting swimmers from one continent to another as president of the Asociación Cruce A Nado Del Estrecho De Gibraltar (Strait of Gibraltar Swimming Association), Rafael Gutiérrez Mesa provides many individuals from all walks of life their greatest opportunity for athletic achievement. Rafael plans, organizes, guides, and certifies solo and relay crossings – both neoprene and bioprene – of the Strait of Gibraltar. Year in and year out, he manages everything from the bureaucracy of the Spanish and Moroccan governments to providing beautiful commemorative charts of swimmer’s crossings. For his passion to help others realize their dreams, for his expertise in dealing with bureaucracies, for his ability to manage crossings by swimmers of every age, ability, background, and country, Rafael Gutiérrez Mesa is a worthy candidate for the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.
12. Thomas Lurz, World Champion (Germany)
It was unprecedented: 4 medals in 4 swims in 7 days. Over a cumulative total of 7 hours of mano-a-mano racing against the world’s best swimmers in Barcelona, Thomas Lurz proved why he is, at the advanced age of 33, the world’s fastest open water swimmer. Never in the history of the sport has anyone demonstrated such total mastery of all aspects of elite open water swimming against the best talent on the planet. Uncomplaining, driven and a glutton for punishment during training, good things have continued for the deserving professional swimmer. For his gold medal at the world championships in the 25 km, his gold medal in the 5 km Team Pursuit, his silver medal in the 10 km, his bronze medal in the 5 km over a span of 7 days, and a handful of other international victories throughout the year, Thomas Lurz is a worthy nominee for the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.
13. Tomi Stefanovski, Mastering the Traversee (Macedonia)
He was the most unlikely of victors in the most prestigious and toughest professional race in the world, la Traversée internationale du lac St-Jean. A survivor of six surgeries, three on each shoulder, the 42-year-old masters swimming dynamo is a role model who is admittedly past his prime. But the love of the sport pushes him forward. The former water polo player has put in mega-mileage with over a decade on the professional marathon swimming circuit. But he remained confident in himself and never failed to be competitive. A stalwart to finish, but not a threat to win la Traversée, Stefanvoski proved everyone wrong. For his unlikely victory on the downside of his career, for his participation in professional marathon races on 3 continents, for his continuous joy of the sport while raising two daughters, Tomi Stefanovski is a worthy nominee for the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.
14. Vojislav Mijić, Tirelessly Resilient Race Director (Serbia)
He has been selflessly and tirelessly organizing open water swimming for decades and has done everything from swimming himself to promoting the race among the fastest swimmers on Earth. He has created safe, but challenging, fields of play from the 30 km professional marathon swim with the Plivački maraton Jarak-Šabac, to ice swims of 33 meters with the Epiphany Swimming for the Holy Cross of Honour. He pleads, he promises, he produces year after year after year. The chemical engineer always places the athletes first and foremost on his minds. For his deep passion for all types of open water swimming, for his grace under pressure at every event he organizes, for his willingness to serve in any capacity for the benefit of the athletes, Vojislav Mijić is a worthy candidate for the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.
15. Wayne Riddin, Midmar Mile Miracle (South Africa)
He constantly re-invests in the sport of swimming; he envisions a bright future in the sport and then creates an environment to make it a reality. He attracts 18,000 swimmers in a variety of amateur, charity, disabled and elite competitions in South Africa where there are only 6,000 competitive pool swimmers. The race director for the Midmar Mile does so much for the sport in his native South Africa. From timing systems to celebrities, from seeding events to hot spots, from aerial coverage to car give-aways, Riddin has set the highest standards in the sport. For his visionary innovation and aquapreneurial drive, for his constant commitment to give back to the sport of swimming, for his leadership in creating the most extravagant, wholesome open water swimming event, Wayne Riddin is a worthy nominee for the 2013 WOWSA Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.
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2013 WOWSA World Open Water Swimming
Woman of the Year Nominees
- Anna-Carin Nordin, The Oceans Seven First (Sweden)
- Charlotte Brynn, Channel Swimmer and Aquatic Adventurist (New Zealand)
- Diana Nyad, Xtreme Dreamer (U.S.A.)
- Kimberley Chambers, Ballerina Soars in the Open Water (New Zealand)
- Lorna Cochran, Near-nonagenarian Navigates Nirvana (South Africa)
- Lynn Kubasek, Volunteer Extraordinaire In The Pacific (U.S.A.)
- Martina Grimaldi, World Champion Racer (Italy)
- Michelle Macy, Reaching the Summit of the Oceans Seven (U.S.A.)
- Nadia Ben Bahtane, A Maternal Moroccan Miracle (Morocco)
- Nuala Moore, Going to the Extremes (Ireland)
- Olga Kozydub, Professional Marathon Swimming Champion (Russia)
- Poliana Okimoto, 3-time World Championship Medalist (Brazil)
- Sarah Thomas, Double Crosser (U.S.A.)
- Sally Minty-Gravett, 5 Decades in the Making (Jersey)
- Shelley Taylor-Smith, Serving with Distinction (Australia)
1. Anna-Carin Nordin, The Oceans Seven First (Sweden)
Quietly and steady as she goes, Anna-Carin Nordin set the Oceans Seven goal for herself without fanfare and without a team. Crossing by crossing, country by country, continent by continent, Nordin swam the globe in pursuit of crossing the 7 mightiest channels in the world. As she did mega-miles in training and submerged herself in ice swims under 5°C, she was prepared for any cold-water, warm-water or rough-water conditions she would encounter. The unassuming and humble mother of one became the first woman to complete the Oceans Seven over dozens of much more well-known colleagues. For her quiet determination, for her simple approach to the sport, for her achievement of the Oceans Seven, Anna-Carin Nordin is a worthy nominee for the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year.
2. Charlotte Brynn, Channel Swimmer and Aquatic Adventurist (New Zealand)
Charlotte Brynn has a deep passion for the open water and the individuals she coaches. She also loves to push her own envelope of physiological potential as she competed in the World 10-mile Championships and the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim, and attempted one of the most audacious channel swims in recent history. During her swim from Catalina to California, Brynn was hit by a shark in her swim late at night. The bump left a scar and a tooth on her hip. But she keep swimming and did not get out despite the blackness of the evening and the turbulence of the ocean. Brynn stroked on for another 11 hours before being fished out for hypothermia. For her dynamic spirit, for helping others realize their swimming dreams while she pursues her own, for her willingness to swim on despite a shark encounter, Charlotte Brynn is a worthy nominee for the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year.
3. Diana Nyad, Never Giving Up On Her Dream (U.S.A.)
Few people in the world fail at something four times, and try again. Even fewer people fail at something for 35 years, and keep trying. But Diana Nyad kept her athletic dream alive for decades and finally achieved it at the age of 64. The charismatic media magnet and a former professional marathon swimmer from the 1970s dreamed, plotted, planned, and willed her way across 110 miles in the Straits of Florida from Cuba to Florida. 52 hours after swimming from shore to shore, her Xtreme Dream was finally realized. Faced with non-believers even among her team, she dramatically demonstrated why it is important to never give up on a dream no matter what your age. For her patience, for her belief in herself and her team, and for her relentless pursuit of a lifetime goal in the face of widespread doubt, Diana Nyad is a worthy nominee for the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year.
4. Kimberley Chambers, Ballerina Soars in the Open Water (New Zealand)
Kimberley Chambers was 30 minutes from having her leg amputated after a traumatic fall down a flight of stairs. Nearly all hope had evaporated in the hospital, but destiny ultimately intervened. After her leg was saved, she took up swimming in order to avoid being disabled and unable to walk. After a difficult two-year rehabilitation period, she learned to love swimming and those in the sport. This year, she has blossomed in ways she could not have imagined before. She completed the Strait of Gibraltar in May, the Catalina Channel in July, and the English Channel in September en route towards her goal of achieving the Oceans Seven. For her optimistic view of life, for her deep sense of appreciation of her teammates and supporters, for her utter joy in the discovery of her vast potential, Kimberley Chambers is a worthy nominee for the 2013 World Open Swimming Woman of the Year.
5. Lorna Cochran, Near-nonagenarian Navigates Nirvana (South Africa)
At the age of 89, Lorna Cochran shows the joys and benefits of open water swimming as clearly anyone on the planet. She emerges from the open water with a smile as wide and bright as can be. She is gracious to all, she is eloquent with the media. She is a late bloomer to the sport who is cheered on by her 7 children, 24 grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren, and numerous respectful fans. After she started competing in South Africa’s aQuellé Midmar Mile at 74, she kept on competing year after year – proving that some things do get better with age. For her passion for healthful living, for her continued participation in the world’s largest competitive race, for the example of healthful, meaningful living she represents, Lorna Cochran is a worthy nominee for the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year.
6. Lynn Kubasek, Volunteer Extraordinaire In The Pacific (U.S.A.)
There is not a day that goes by without her cheering on or offering to swim with others. Her swimming friends come from all over the world. When not in the water, Lynn Kubasek is creating YouTube clips and online supporting swimmers day in and day out. She willingly and happily jumps on escort boats, prepares drinks, and offers to observe or crew on a moment’s notice or months in advance. Ocean water is seemingly in her blood; she wears lanolin as often than make-up; and marine life are her cherished friends. Always willing to help out, she has a permanent smile on her face in and out of the water. For her deep love of the ocean, for her profound sense of appreciation of the sport, for her overwhelming and all-encompassing sense of voluntarism, Lynn Kubasek is a worthy nominee for the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year.
7. Martina Grimaldi, World Champion Racer (Italy)
The pressure is on always Martina Grimaldi; expectations always run high for the Olympic medalist. With little room for error, the Italian swimmer comes through more often than not. In lakes and seas, in cold and warm, she is always game, never complaining and always competing as best she can. Her swimming technique and swimming savvy are spectacular to watch, her graciousness in victory and defeat is admirable to observe. Tough as grizzled meat, streamlined as a dolphin, and experienced as can be, the Italian professional represents her sport and her country exceedingly well. For her always-on competitiveness, for her victories around the globe, for her skillset that is showcased every time she enters the water, Martina Grimaldi is a worthy nominee for the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year.
8. Michelle Macy, Reaching the Oceans Seven Summit (U.S.A.)
Her love of the sport knows no limits; she serves as support crew as readily as she dives in the water for her own marathon swims. Michelle Macy was the first American and third person overall to achieve the Oceans Seven. The full-time Nike employee takes enough time out of her busy work schedule to become one of the most prolific and accomplished open water swimmers in contemporary times. Without sponsors and without hype, the friendly, thoughtful, seriously-minded swimmer moves about the globe to cross channels and help others in their own quests. For her world record time across the North Channel, for her achievement of the Oceans Seven, for her joyful willingness to crew for other swimmers around the world, Michelle Macy is a worthy nominee for the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year.
9. Nadia Ben Bahtane, A Maternal Moroccan Miracle (Morocco)
She lives in a land where open water swimming is still unknown. But Nadia Ben Bahtane has a dream to be the first woman from Morocco to swim across the Strait of Gibraltar. With maternal responsibilities for her three children and professional responsibilities with her full-time marketing director position, she quietly goes about balancing her jobs at home, at work, and in the Mediterranean Sea. Day in and day out, even as she trains during Ramadan when she must fast 17 hours per day, she gives her all to family and work, with something left over for her swimming. For representing women who must balance everything without rest, for completing the Swim the Costa Brava 6 km as her first step towards completing the Strait of Gibraltar, for being focused on her swimming goals year-round, Nadia Ben Bahtane is a worthy nominee for the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year.
10. Nuala Moore, Going to the Extremes (Ireland)
She worries about the sport’s nitty-gritty details, but she also has a great capacity – and compassion – to see the big picture. She ably and tirelessly handles the paperwork on land, and can also swim in as extreme conditions as Mother Nature can deliver. As the Secretary of the Irish Long Distance Swimming Association, she quietly and professionally manages the administration part of the equation. As an ice swimmer, she represents Ireland well in frigid waterways around the world. For her unsung dedication as a volunteer board member, for her participation in the unprecedented 6-day Bering Strait Swim, for her ice swims and her unwavering, unfailing support of swimmers of all abilities, Nuala Moore is a worthy nominee for the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year.
11. Olga Kozydub, Professional Marathon Swimming Champion (Russia)
Young but hungry, small but daring, Olga Kozydub won the FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix circuit with an outstanding sophomore season. Consistently in the lead, the 20-year-old won 3 races on the professional marathon swimming circuit while finishing 8 long races. Focused and savvy, she did not let wind or waves, stings or sunburn get her down. When the pace picked up, she stayed up. When the waves came up, she rose to the occasion. The 20-year-old Russian swam courageously throughout the year and has a promising long career ahead of her, demonstrating her prowess for all to appreciate. For her Grand Prix victories, for her focused intensity, for her love of competition, Olga Kozydub is a worthy nominee for the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year.
12. Poliana Okimoto, 3-time World Championship Medalist (Brazil)
Over 3 tough races in 5 days against the fastest open water swimmers in the world, Poliana Okimoto proved that she is the best professional marathon swimmer in the world this summer in Barcelona. Earning a well-deserved gold medal in the showcase 10K event, Okimoto just missed out in the gold by 3 tenths of a second in the 5K and was the linchpin of Brazil’s bronze medal in the 5K Team Pursuit. Proving that size does not matter and one’s heart and mindset are ultimately the decisive factors, the slender Okimoto has established herself as the crème-de-la-crème among the world’s elite women. For her courage in competition, for her dominating success at the World Championships, for helping promote the sport in unprecedented ways for the 2016 Rio Olympics, Poliana Okimoto is a worthy nominee for the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Women of the Year.
13. Sarah Thomas, Double-Crosser (U.S.A.)
Back and forth, up and way, two-way, and double-crossing. If it involved doing anything in the water twice, Sarah Thomas is on her game. Her two swims in 2013, both the double-crossing of Lake Tahoe and the double-crossing of Lake Memphremagog, were unprecedented. Both extraordinary swims elevated her to the elusive 24-Hour Club status, finishing 42 miles in Lake Tahoe in 24 hours 12 minutes and 50 miles in Lake Memphremagog in 30 hours 1 minutes. Proving her mettle despite unkind conditions, she negative split both marathon swims. For her willingness to extend herself beyond what others do, for her courage to retrace her strokes in lakes throughout North America, for her two unprecedented two-way crossings, Sarah Thomas is a worthy nominee for the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year.
14. Sally Minty-Gravett, 5 Decades In The Making (Jersey)
Sally Minty-Gravett is in it for the long term. Day in and day out, she walks the walk and talks the talk as one of the most trusted, experienced, capable coaches and motivators in the sport. From her first crossing of the English Channel in 1975 to her second in 1985…and her third in 1992…and her fourth in 2005…and her latest crossing in 2013, Minty-Gravett has successfully swum across the English Channel in each of the past 5 decades. Like her steady strokes between England and France, she unselfishly and constantly shares her knowledge with others in the seas as she unfailingly guides the Jersey Long Distance Swimming Club. For her successful crossing achieved 38 years after her first one, for serving as an iconic role model in the sport, for her burning passion so palpable and so bright, Sally Minty-Gravett is a worthy nominee for the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year.
15. Shelley Taylor-Smith, Serving With Distinction (Australia)
The longest serving FINA committee member has served unselfishly since 1994: first as an athlete representative and then as a Technical Open Water Swimming Committee member. She was instrumental in the incorporation of the 5 km event, Olympic 10K Marathon Swim, and 5 km Team Pursuit event in the FINA program until she retired this year. She was the first female referee to serve at the Olympics. After a trail-blazing career as an athlete, she maintains the same intensity as an author, speaker, and inspirational coach. For leading Open Water Swimming Mastery, for instilling confidence in others with fears and worries, for continuing to pass on her knowledge to the next generation of swimmers, Shelley Taylor-Smith is a worthy nominee for the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year.
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2013 WOWSA Open Water Swimming
Performance of the Year Nominees
- BCT Gdynia Marathon, Prizing the Pros (Poland)
- Bering Strait Swim, Crossing from Asia to America (International)
- Emily Brunemann, World Cup Winner (U.S.A.)
- Héctor Ramírez Ballesteros, Battling Butterfly From Spain to Gibraltar (Spain)
- Ka’iwi Channel Swim, Making the Most of Molokai (Hawaii)
- Mateusz Sawrymowicz, The Polish Tiburon (Poland)
- Melissa Cunningham, Every Stroke Counts (Australia)
- Mohamed Marouf, Energizing Egypt (Egypt)
- Ned Denison, 9 Swims Around The World (Ireland)
- Night Train Swimmers, California Coastal Cruising (U.S.A.)
- Richard Weinberger, Chasing Gold (Canada)
- Swim4Good, Strait of Gibraltar Charity Crossing (Mexico/U.S.A.)
- Sylvian Estadieu, Flying Frenchman (France)
- Wendy Trehiou, Two-way Toughness (Jersey)
- Women’s 10K World Championship, Pack Finishing (International)
1. BCT Gdynia Marathon, Prizing the Pros (Poland)
The history of open water swimming in Poland was renewed by the passion, energy, and vision of Tomasz Pąchalski of the BCT Gdynia Marathon. By generating corporate and local interest, Pąchalski was able to attract local and international to the BCT Gdynia Marathon in the Baltic Sea. The athletes felt at home, both on terra firma and in the water while the BCT Gdynia Marathon rolled out a red carpet for its foreign and domestic guests. Safety, competition, and hospitality were the top priorities along with the dream to re-invigorate and renew the interest throughout the Polish swimming community. Both professional swimmers and amateur athletes enjoyed a world-class event and set the tone for additional growth in future years. For their vision and for their safe execution of one of the richest open water swims in the world, the BCT Gdynia Marathon is a worthy nominee for the 2013 WOWSA Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.
2. Bering Strait Swim – Crossing From Asia to America (International)
With the seeds planted by Lynne Cox, a team of hardened swimmers expanded upon the American’s 1987 swim from Little Diomede to Big Diomede. Many of the world’s best ice swimmers from 16 countries realized years of planning in swimming from Russia to the U.S.A. It was the sport’s most dangerous swim with large ocean swells, heavy fog, stiff winds, relentless whitecaps, currents, and water temperatures under 5ºC (41ºF). Escorted by a large ship, everything about the Bering Strait Swim was oversized. Doubts and fears were packed away and replaced by optimism and energy. Man versus Nature was never more one-sided in a swim that was never guaranteed and always in danger of failure. For their belief in themselves, for a commitment to an adventure with life-threatening situations, for their ability to withstand 6-days of the harshest conditions possible, the Bering Strait Swim is a worthy nominee for the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.
3. Emily Brunemann, World Cup Winner (U.S.A.)
There are so many fast American women, it is tough to qualify for the USA national team. But when it comes to facing international competition, Emily Brunemann proved the crème-de-la-crème in 2013. From Brazil to Hong Kong, from Canada to Mexico, Brunemann was consistently competitive and won the overall title of the FINA 10K Marathon Swimming World Cup circuit. When each of the races came down to a photo finish, she proved her mettle, her talents, and her drive. But win or lose, her smile was as bright as her future. Her appreciation of her coaches and volunteers was always obvious. For her commitment to travel the world as she balances work, for her love of tough competition, for the purity of her joy in representing her country, Emily Brunemann’s 10-month odyssey on the World Cup circuit is a worthy nominee for the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.
4. Héctor Ramírez Ballesteros, Battling Butterfly From Spain to Gibraltar (Spain)
People have swum butterfly further, people have swum butterfly in colder waters, but no one had swum butterfly across the Strait of Gibraltar before. It was a channel that remained to be covered doing double-arm butterfly, feet together, breathing forward. It was a swim that was well-promoted in advance, further increasing the pressure to succeed. But Héctor Ramírez Ballesteros prepared intelligently and steadily for the 14 km butterfly crossing, taking his time to build himself up to its extraordinary demands. The Spaniard faced media attention and rough seas in the beginning, ultimately confident in his ability to cross from Spain to Africa. For his choice of venue, for his confidence under pressure, for his 7 hour 5 minute 14 km crossing, Héctor Ramírez Ballesteros’ unprecedented butterfly crossing of the Strait of Gibraltar is a worthy nominee for the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.
5. Ka’iwi Channel Swim, Making the Most of Molokai (Hawaii)
Jeff Kozlovich and Steve Haumschild, two courageous watermen from Hawaii, had seen nearly everything in their years paddling, swimming, and exploring the 9 major channels of the Hawaiian Islands. Their ocean experience and ocean-faring talents were combined with an audacious dream: to bring the 26-mile Ka’iwi (Molokai) Channel to more swimmers. Crossing the channel is tough, too demanding for everyone but the very best. They envisioned the Ka’iwi Channel Swim, a daunting 6-person relay rift with inherent risks. For their ocean knowledge and expertise, for their vision to introduce a mighty channel for more swimmers, for their safe execution of a difficult relay swim across the Molokai Channel, the Ka’iwi Channel Swim produced by Jeff Kozlovich and Steve Haumschild is a worthy nominee for the 2013 WOWSA Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.
6. Mateusz Sawrymowicz, Unseen and Unlikely Upset in Tiburon (Poland)
The studs were out at the RCP Tiburon Mile: men with Olympic medals and world championship experience. The field was stacked with those who can handle physicality and turbulence, currents and cold water. But an unlikely pool swimmer swam with unexpectedly high navigational IQ and pulled off a stunning upset at the US$10,000 winner-take-all race in San Francisco. Mild-mannered Mateusz Sawrymowicz, who moved from his native Poland to California to follow his dreams, started off fast and churned through the most competitive mile race in the world: never fearless, never hesitant, always calculating and shifting strategies. For his willingness to move halfway around the world, for his competitive spirit in challenging the world’s best, for his generous and humble spirit, Mateusz Sawrymowicz’s victory in the San Francisco Bay is a worthy nominee for the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.
7. Melissa Cunningham, Every Stroke Counts (Australia)
The courageous former world champion appreciates every stroke she takes, especially after she was diagnosed and survived breast cancer this year. Her smile remains as wide as ever despite thinning hair; her optimism is contagious despite the scare of a lifetime. She coaches; she inspires. She teaches; she motivates. Melissa Cunningham, an Honour Swimmer in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Class of 2013, is the event organizer for the Every Stroke Counts program. For organizing events and inspiring people despite her illness on behalf of the McGrath Foundation, for being an ambassador while she was being treated for Stage 3 breast cancer, for carrying on her competitive spirit to benefit others in the water throughout the year, Melissa Cunningham’s efforts at Every Stroke Counts are a worthy nominee for the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.
8. Mohamed Marouf, Energizing Egypt (Egypt)
From the famous English Channel races in the 1950’s to the height of Abou-Heif’s career, open water swimming was well-known in Egypt. With a few exceptions, open water swimming fell off the radar, not only in Egypt, but also throughout much of the Middle East. Marouf, through his force of powerful personality, online social media networking, and his experience as a coach and pro swimmer, has re-energized the information flow and interest in the sport in Egypt. The catalyst of open water’s ongoing momentum, excitement, and participants in Egypt and throughout the Arab world is Coach Marouf. For his year-round promotion and education, for his delivery of the sport to the young swimmers and a new generation of coaches, for his focus on stimulating the love of the open water for recreation and competition, the work of Mohamed Marouf is a worthy nominee for the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.
9. Ned Denison, 9 Swims In A Year (Ireland)
The man from Cork takes to the open water like a long-lost merman. Not only is Ireland’s Ned Denison managing, promoting, and coaching the toughest 7 days of open water training with his Cork Distance Week, but he also attacks waters around the world year-round. Denison completed 9 marathon swims in fresh water and salt while he lives and breathes open water swimming like few others. His smile is infectious, his leadership is efficacious, his efforts are sincere. The Pied Piper of the Open Water leaves his footprint in nearly every continent around the world, as friends surround him like the ever-present lanolin around his neck. For his heartfelt joy in swimming in every temperature and condition, for his unselfish attitude in bringing others to the sport, and for his 9 swims in oceans, lakes, seas and bays around the world, Ned Denison’s year-round efforts are a worthy nominee for the 2013 WOWSA Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.
10. Night Train Swimmers, California Coastal Cruising (U.S.A.)
17 times in and out of the water over 4 days, each of the Night Train Swimmers smiled in the face of gale force winds and small craft advisories. In one of the most audacious relays in history, the pod from San Francisco was courageous in setting the world record for distance covered in the ocean: 228 miles down the coast of California. Captained by Vito Bialla with Hal McCormick and Patrick Horn, Phil Cutti, David Holscher, Zach Jirkovsky, Luane Rowe, Blair Cannon, and Grace van der Byl spent over 100 hours swimming non-stop in a charity swim on behalf of the Navy SEAL Foundation. Like the war heroes they were helping, the swimmers were unselfishly dedicated, and worked seamlessly as one. For flawless execution of their plans, for their calm and measured reaction when Mother Nature tossed them around in a fury, for their commitment to help others, the 228-mile relay by the Night Train Swimmers is a worthy nominee for the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.
11. Richard Weinberger, Chasing Gold (Canada)
He unexpectedly made a fatal error during the showcase 10 km marathon race at the 2013 FINA World Championships. Richard Weinberger was fit and ready to climb on the podium, but he inadvertently missed a turn buoy and had to swim in reverse back around the buoy in order to stay in the race. His mistake put him 70 meters back behind the world’s best swimmers. He could have quit; he could have just cruised in. But not the Canadian. His competitive zeal and pride kicked in big-time. Slowly but surely, he swam back into medal position against all odds. In the end, he just missed a medal, but he made many fans and never gave up during that race. For his sense of purpose, for his spirit of competitiveness, for his valiant strategic comeback at the World Championships in Barcelona, Richard Weinberger’s race is a worthy nominee for the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.
12. Swim4Good, Strait of Gibraltar Charity Crossing (Mexico/U.S.A.)
Swim4Good accomplished exactly what its name states. Mauricio Prieto, Susan Moody, and Emily Kunze swam across the Strait of Gibraltar, a feat in itself, but their true goal was to create a social platform to take on aquatic challenges while raising money and social consciousness for good. The aquapreneurial trio achieved their goal by establishing partnerships with a number of world-class non-swimming athletes to benefit their cause of bringing books to children in the developing world using mobile technology. For raising $107,461 from 226 donors around the world on behalf of Worldreader, for crossing the Strait of Gibraltar to draw attention to those less fortunate than them, for their continued efforts to build upon their initial success, the crossing of Mauricio Prieto, Susan Moody, and Emily Kunze is a worthy nominee for the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.
13. Sylvain Estadieu, The Flying Frenchman (France)
He publicly stated his goal; he trained diligently and then stood confidently on the shores of Dover after long delays. Sylvain Estadieu was ready to tackle one of the most difficult feats in the ocean: 21 miles of uninterrupted butterfly, the most macho and most demanding of all swimming strokes. Double-arm forward, breathing straight ahead, legs together. One false stroke, one splitting of the feet, one breaststroke pull, one roll-over on his back, and his dream to become the third person in history to swim from England to France would be over. But he swam strongly and uninterrupted. For 16 hours 42 minutes of muscle-wrenching butterfly, for his courage in announcing his attempt and executing upon his plan, for his personable nature enhanced by his enjoyable, lighthearted approach to the sport, Sylvain Estadieu is a worthy nominee for the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.
14. Wendy Trehiou, Two-way Toughness (Jersey)
Greatness in the English Channel is not reserved for the fastest or mightiest. In the Channel, greatest is destined for anyone of any age or ability who trains and struggles to get from one shore to the other. Stamina and strength; courage and commitment; tenacity and toughness: these are the traits and characteristics that are demonstrated by English Channel swimmers. Wendy Trehiou showcased her strengths in a two-way 39 hour 9 minute effort that drew raves from the channel swimming community, especially since Trehiou is a cancer survivor and she had to abort a two-way attempt only weeks before. For her love of life, her commitment to finishing a most difficult challenge, for instilling inspiration throughout her native Jersey and far beyond, the two-way channel swim of Wendy Trehiou is a worthy nominee for the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.
15. Women’s 10K World Championship, Pack Finishing (International)
9 seconds separated the top 19 swimmers in the women’s 10 km marathon swimming race at the 2013 FINA World Championships in Barcelona. And many of the rest of the 51-swimmer field were not that far behind. The pace was blistering; the competition was fierce; it was undoubtedly one of the most exciting races in the annals of elite open water swimming. For nearly 2 hours, the world’s fastest open water swimmers gave it everything they had…only to follow in the wake of Brazil’s Poliana Okimoto and Ana Marcela Cunha. For participating in a race that could not be realistically closer, for representing themselves, their countries, and their sport courageously well, the collective effort of the women in the World’s 10K World Championship race is a worthy nominee for the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.
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2013 WOWSA Open Water Swimming
Offering of the Year
- 21 Yaks and A Speedo, Storytelling Life Lessons by Lewis Pugh (U.K.)
- Amphibia Sports Ring, Simple Silicone Solution for Swimmers (Ireland)
- Bold & Beautiful, A Pod by the Shore (Australia)
- Driven, Documenting Distance and Dedication (U.S.A.)
- FINIS Agility Paddles, Training Tools of the Trade (U.S.A.)
- Global Open Water Swimming Conference, Culminating In Cork (Ireland)
- International Ice Swimming Association, Cooling To The Extreme (South Africa)
- Ocean-navi, Navigating Throughout The Pacific (Japan)
- Ocean Swimming & Prone Paddleboarding for Athletes with Spinal Cord Injuries (USA)
- Open Water Swimming Manual: An Expert’s Survival Guide by Lynne Cox (U.S.A.)
- Oru Kayak, Origami of the Open Water (U.S.A.)
- Ouma Academy, Swimming The Sea (Tunisia)
- Plastic Disclosure Project by Ocean Recovery Alliance (Hong Kong)
- Santa Barbara Channel Swimming Association, Far Forward Thinking In The Ocean (U.S.A.)
- Swim Smooth, Styling Streamlined Swimming (Australia/U.K.)
1. 21 Yaks and A Speedo, Storytelling Life Lessons by Lewis Pugh (U.K.)
It is a fantastic concept: connect Lewis Pugh’s extreme swims around the world with profound life lessons. Pugh’s 21 Yaks and A Speedo pulls it off extraordinarily well; it is insightful to both seasoned business executives and impressionable teenagers while striking a deep resonance with swimmers and aquatic Luddites. When it comes to pushing the limits of one’s body, mind, and creativity, few have succeeded like Pugh. Elaborate operations, difficult logistics, physiological challenges, and psychological barriers, Pugh meets each of these obstacles head-on and writes simply how he overcomes them. A masterful storyteller with a swim record that is anything but fictional, Pugh’s book can be read quickly and repeatedly. For its ability to inspire others to achieve the impossible, for its colorful language that quickly engages, for its unique format that distills valuable life lessons, Lewis Pugh’s 21 Yaks and A Speedo is a worthy nominee for the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
2. Amphibia Sports Ring, Simple Silicone Solution for Swimmers (Ireland)
A ring is symbolic and represents many deep emotional feelings. When a ring is lost in the open water, it is frustrating, upsetting, agonizing. The ring itself and the memories its stirs up are lost forever. But Adrian McGreevy designed an inexpensive, elegant solution to avoid that heart-wrenching agony and emotional loss. With his Amphibia Sports Ring, the stretchy silicone covering can protect your rings during swimming, effectively eliminating worry. The Sports Ring is a genius solution to a problem that faced by millions and allows swimmers to keep their rings on rather than taking them off or potentially losing or damaging them in the water. For its simple elegance, for its innovative solution to a practical problem, for its inexpensive fix to avoid heartbreaking emotion, the Amphibia Sports Ring is a worthy nominee for the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
3. Bold & Beautiful, A Pod by the Shore (Australia)
It is more than trendy; it is a movement. It is more than a workout; it is a community. It is more than an open water workout; it is a mindset. The popular pink-colored morning pod that gathers on the shores of Sydney is the vision of Julie Isbill and her like-minded ocean-going mates. With a colorful yearly calendar, friendly social events, a sticky online community with participants by the thousands, the Bold & Beautiful has created a model for open water swimming pods around the world. For its newly-born traditions, for its concurrent focus on safety and enjoyment, for its creative means to market a healthy lifestyle while enthusiastically promoting the sport of open water swimming, the Bold & Beautiful is a worthy nominee for the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
4. Driven, Documenting Distance and Dedication (U.S.A.)
They bankrolled it; they starred in it; they live it. Driven is the documentary film that all marathon swimmers have been waiting for. Nothing captures their imagination more than the purity of swimming in the ocean against the elements. They relish the cold; they welcome the rough; they love the distance. These swimmers are absolutely Driven. Ben Pitterle and Brian Hall spent months filming, interviewing, and observing the lives of 3 marathon swimmers: Evan Morrison, Cherie Edborg, and Fiona Goh. The result is an in-depth, inside, intense view of the world few know, and even fewer live. For the imagery and accuracy of the film, for the effort and funding provided by marathon swimmers themselves, for the drama and inspiration that marathon swimmers create, Driven the documentary film is a worthy nominee for the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
5. FINIS Agility Paddles, Training Tools of the Trade (USA)
Its form factor is unique. Its benefits are unmistakable. Its color is distinct. The FINIS Agility Paddles are oh-so-cool hand paddles that feel just right when you swim properly. Conversely, with sub-optimal hand movement through water, the paddles function as a fantastic self-teaching aid and a catalyst for stroke improvement. The bright yellow paddles enhance the swimmers’ tactile feedback and feel in the water, no matter what stroke they are swimming: butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke or freestyle. By elevating an athlete’s kinetic awareness, the paddles enable swimmers to make minute changes and discover the most optimal hand position throughout their entire stroke cycle. For its unprecedented convex shape, for its simplicity of design, for its fit like a one-sided glove, the FINIS Agility Paddles are a worthy nominee for the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
6. Global Open Water Swimming Conference, Culminating In Cork (Ireland)
Oswald Schmidt and Paschal Horgan had an idea and a dream: to invite and host representatives around the open water world to Cork, Ireland. They sought sponsors and support; they aligned a number of experts; they gathered the crème-de-la-crème of the open swimming world in a grand celebration. The result was an outstanding 2013 Global Open Water Swimming Conference, WOWSA Awards and International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame ceremony that set the standard for the future. For the hard-working efforts of Schmidt, Horgan, Ciaran O’Connor, Captain Tom McCarthy, Finbarr Hedderman, and Ned Denison, for their humble and hospitable nature, for bringing the Global Conference, WOWSA Awards and Hall of Fame ceremonies outside the United States for the first time, the Global Open Water Swimming Conference is a worthy nominee for the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
7. International Ice Swimming Association, Cool To The Extreme (South Africa)
Ice swimmers are extremists. These athletes come in all shapes and sizes with the unique ability to push themselves farther and colder than other humans and scientists think possible. But nothing is impossible for these hardened groups of extreme athletes. The International Ice Swimming Association, founded by Ram Barkai, promotes, advices, and ratifies individuals who attempt and achieve extreme open water swims in water temperatures under 5°C (41°F). Its standardization of rules, protocols, and procedures are helping to shape the sport of ice swimming. Its growth may someday lead to an inclusion of ice swimming in the Winter Olympics. For its emphasis on safety, for its interest in pushing the physical limits of where ice swimmers can go, for organizing the sport in a global unified manner, the International Ice Swimming Association is a worthy nominee for the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
8. Ocean-navi, Navigating Throughout The Pacific (Japan)
The citizens of the island nation of Japan have always enjoyed and respected swimming. Its best swimmers have won Olympic gold. But Ocean-navi is elevating open water swimming to another level by introducing and guiding newcomers to the ocean, from Borneo to Hokkaido. Ocean-navi and Masayuki Moriya took 42 swimmers across the Tsugaru Channel and conducted numerous ocean swimming tours for masters and triathletes during 2013. Ocean-navi is making open water swimming fun and educational, not only for native Japanese, but also for visiting foreigners interested in a land shrouded in mystery, cloaked in unknown customs with an indecipherable language. For its efforts to help swimmers tackle the Tsugaru Channel, for its efforts to conduct open water swimming tours, camps and clinics in a fun learning environment, Ocean-navi’s services are a worthy nominee for the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
9. Ocean Swimming & Prone Paddleboarding for Athletes with Spinal Cord Injuries (USA)
They create transformative ocean experiences to positively impact the quality of life for those unwilling to accept being an observer. Bruckner Chase, Michelle Evans-Chase with Becky McGill, the Bacharach Rehabilitation Hospital, and the City of Upper Township enable the most unlikely athletes to discover a personal connection to the ocean. By helping those with spinal cord injuries learn how to move through the water and guiding open water prone paddleboarding and swimming sessions, disabled athletes are leaving their wheelchairs and physical limitations on the beach to explore opportunities on and in the water. For their vision to bring the open water to a previously land-locked group, for their innovation to make paddling safe for those with severe physical challenges, for the empowering feelings and opportunities, the Ocean City Swim Club / Bacharach Rehabilitation Hospital Swimming and Paddling Unified Team Program is a worthy nominee for the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
10. Open Water Swimming Manual: An Expert’s Survival Guide For Triathletes And Open Water Swimmers, Lynne Cox (U.S.A.)
No one speaks with the authority and reach of Lynne Cox in the open water world. She speaks softly; we listen intently. She writes creatively, we read repeatedly. She swims; she sets extreme swimming standards. Her books are the centerpiece of any open water swimmer’s library. Her quotes become mantras; her swims become legend. Cox survived the harshest swims in the world with a physiology and psychology that astound the scientific community. Her latest publication sets the standards for two sports: triathlon and open water swimming, both for beginners and pros. For her words of wisdom, for her eloquence in explaining the open water, for her decades of excellence communicated simply in easy-to-understand language, Lynne Cox’s Open Water Swimming Manual: An Expert’s Survival Guide For Triathletes And Open Water Swimmers is a worthy nominee for the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
11. Oru Kayak, Origami of the Open Water (U.S.A.)
Inspired by origami, the traditional Japanese art of paper folding, Oru Kayak is a brilliantly simple, foldable, watertight kayak that folds into a carrying case. The innovation created by Anton Willis and Ardy Sobhani solves a huge issue for open water swimmers who wish to swim with an escort in far-away places…or even in waters near their home. Stash it in a trunk. Check it on a plane. Stow it on an escort boat. The Oru Kayak can be taken to and used in remote bodies of water, enabling coaches to engage with their swimmers instead of standing on shore. For its portability and compactness, for its innovative form factor that makes escorting simple, easy, and accessible, for its myriad uses to provide safety and navigation in the open water swimming world, the Oru Kayak is a worthy nominee for the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
12. Ouma Academy, Swimming the Sea (Tunisia)
The Ouma Academy has caused transformations of mindsets. Its creation has shifted the thoughts of the younger generation from news about economic hardships and internal political problems to the pleasures and challenges of the sea. The Ouma Academy, developed by Nejib Belhedi, is an innovative project that gives hope and brings the joy of swimming to the younger generations in Tunisia. The concept of Ouma – or swimming in the sea – has captured the imagination, attention and minds of children in the Middle East due to the relentless efforts of its founder Belhedi. For being a catalyst of inspiration, for teaching swimming and the importance of marine safety, for establishing new open water swimming events and a new mindset in Tunisia, The Ouma Academy sets a learn-to-swim standard and is a worthy nominee for the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
13. Plastic Disclosure Project by Ocean Recovery Alliance (Hong Kong)
The increasing plasticity is acknowledged as one of the ocean’s devastating problems. The Plastic Disclosure Project, created by the Ocean Recovery Alliance, is a means to help educate and encourage society about how everyone can play a vital role in reducing this problem. Through an easy-to-understand list of alternatives and an easy-to-implement list of solutions, the Plastic Disclosure Project encourages open water race directors and athletes to play a vital role in reducing the impact of plastic on our environment in order to keep the world’s oceans healthy and plastic-free. For its attempts and recommendations on how to practically deal with the growing menace of ocean garbage, for offering practical solutions that can be reasonably implemented by individuals, corporations and governments, the Plastic Disclosure Project is a worthy nominee for the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
14. Santa Barbara Channel Swimming Association, Far Forward Thinking In The Ocean (U.S.A.)
Frequently visible from the mainland, the 8 Channel Islands of California are increasing looming large in the mindset of channel swimmers. Channel swim courses between the mainland and among the islands present possibilities that are capturing the attention of the open water community. While decades younger than other channel governing bodies, the Santa Barbara Channel Swimming Association is pushing the envelope of what and how channel swimming governance can be. In 2013, its board of directors has instituted a new rules and standards including the elimination of drafting off escort boats, the use bubble caps, and the discarding of disposable cups. For its far-forward vision of a responsible future of the sport, for its growing reach among the channel community, and for its passionate group of volunteers, the Santa Barbara Channel Swimming Association is a worthy nominee for the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
15. Swim Smooth, Styling Streamlined Swimming (Australia/U.K.)
Learning how to swim, learning how to swim better, and learning how to swim well is the mission of Swim Smooth. Paul Newsome and Adam Young of Swim Smooth and his global community of experienced swim coaches take the education and definition of efficient and effective swimming strokes very seriously and very professionally. Swim Smooth provides a comprehensive slew of online materials, clinics, and one-on-one opportunities to disseminate proper and cutting-edge information of optimal customized aquatic success for both triathletes and open water swimmers. For their year-round constant effort to help individuals of all ages and abilities, for their beautiful presentation of swimming styles, for their easy-to-understand videos, illustrations, and written communications, the collective assets of Swim Smooth is a worthy nominee for the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
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