Cutoff Date and Time for Voting is January 1, 2019 at 12:00 am (California time)
Vote in All Four Categories
The World Open Water Swimming Association is pleased to present the 2018 WOWSA Award Nominees.
The nominees are presented in the following four categories:
Official results will be announced on January 1, 2019 at The Daily News of Open Water Swimming.
2018 WOWSA Open Water Swimming
Man of the Year Nominees
- Benoît Lecomte (France/USA)
- Cameron Bellamy (South Africa)
- Diego López Dominguez (Canary Islands)
- Ferry Weertman (Netherlands)
- Igor Lukin (Russia)
- Ion Lazarenco Tiron (Republic of Moldava/Ireland)
- John Batchelder (USA)
- Jose Luis Larrosa Chorro (Spain)
- Kristóf Rasovszky (Hungary)
- Lewis Pugh (Great Britain/South Africa)
- Maarten van der Weijden (Netherlands)
- Ned Denison (Ireland/USA)
- Rohan More (India)
- Vladimir Mravec (Slovakia/Australia)
- Yaroslav Pronin (Belarus)
1. Benoît Lecomte (France/USA)
Benoît Lecomte finally started The Swim, his long-held dream to complete an 8,721 km transoceanic stage swim across the Pacific Ocean from Japan to San Francisco, California in June. After 146 days on the Pacific Ocean, far far far away from land or immediate help, Lecomte has swum 2,747 km as he has dealt with tropical storms and dangerous conditions while seeing sharks, whales, dolphins, turtles, jellyfish and facing plastic pollution on nearly every day. Challenges occur every day including an oncoming typhoon with winds of 120 knots and 12-meter waves as the escort boat and crew must sail out of its path. But the 50-year-old returns to his point of exit on every stage in order to traverse literally across every kilometer of the Pacific Ocean. For conducting 27 different experiments and research projects in collaboration with researchers and scientists around the world, for working tirelessly for 7 years in order to plan and finance history's longest stage swim and recruit the most hardened and experienced mariners to become members of his escort crew, and for his audacious dream to swim across the Pacific Ocean, Benoît Lecomte of France/USA is a worthy nominee for the 2018 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.
2. Cameron Bellamy (South Africa)
Cameron Bellamy has cycled, rowed and ran long distances over the course of his athletic career, setting two Guinness World Records. He only recently caught the open water swimming bug. But once Bellamy became immersed in the open water world, he was all-in and went all-out as is his innate modus operandi. He started from scratch and subsequently crossed the English Channel (16 hours 29 minutes), Strait of Gibraltar (4 hours 1 minute), Catalina Channel (11 hours 53 minutes), North Channel (12 hours 22 minutes), Molokai Channel (17 hours 1 minute), Cook Strait (12 hours 44 minutes) and Tsugaru Channel (11 hours 7 minutes) to become the first South African to achieve the Oceans Seven. But he did not rest on his laurels and later attempted a 96 km circumnavigation swim around Barbados, swimming for over 27 hours and 66 km before he aborted the swim. For creating a charitable organization called the Ubunye Challenge that raises funds for sustainable development in the poorest areas of Africa through sports challenges, for returning to Japan to tackle the Tsugaru Channel in order to achieve the Oceans Seven, and for attempting a second 96 km circumnavigation swim around Barbados while helping the local Caribbean swimming community and working in Silicon Valley, Cameron Bellamy of South Africa is a worthy nominee for the 2018 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.
3. Diego López Dominguez (Canary Islands)
Diego López Dominguez of the Canary Islands is a global thinker. He made a plan to participate in competitive races and across channels in Haiti, USA, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Bolivia, England, France, Turkey, Hong Kong and Antarctica throughout the year - and successfully completed 17 swims totalling 256 km on 7 continents. He called his unprecedented feat, the Continents Seven. The 11-month tour of the globe required tenacity, logistical planning, significant financial resources, stamina and a huge appetite for travel and doing swims in severe jet lag. He crossed the English Channel and Catalina Channel; he swam in Lake Titicaca in the Andes, and won races in Hong Kong, Haiti, New York, Arizona and culminated in an ice kilometer in Antarctica. For being a friendly, personable, accessible ambassador on literally every continent in the world, for making friends with and serving as a mentor for swimmers of all ages, and for envisioning and completing the first Continents Seven, Diego López Dominguez of the Canary Islands is a worthy nominee for the 2018 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.
4. Ferry Weertman (Netherlands)
Ferry Weertman defended his 2016 Olympic 10K Marathon Swimming gold medal with a dramatic, close victory at the 2017 FINA World Championships in Hungary. His success continued in 2018 and is powered by an intensity and laid-back passion that is unmistakable in the 26-year-old Dutchman. He has both speed and stamina in abundance based on a massive amount of fast training mileage in the pool and open water. He not only has the drive to realize his athletic dreams, but he also has the personality to represent the sport in a responsible manner befitting modern-day heroes. With a giant target on his back, Weertman won a wide variety of races from the RCP Tiburon Mile in San Francisco to the FINA/HOSA Marathon Swim World Series race in Qatar. He was in the lead pack in races in Seychelles, Portugal, Hungary, and China and is ranked first in the 2018 FINA/HOSA Marathon Swim World Series. For his competitive spirit and composure under pressure in the highest levels of competition, for winning the 10 km marathon swim and the 5 km mixed team relay at the LEN European Championships in Scotland's Loch Lomond, for his genuinely engaging personality in casually addressing questions from the media and fans, Ferry Weertman of the Netherlands is a worthy nominee for the 2018 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.
5. Igor Lukin (Russia)
Igor Lukin continues his mastery of the International Winter Swimming World Cup series that has taken him to pools carved out of the ice in Latvia, Russia, United Kingdom, China, Sweden, and Estonia. The 61-year-old overwhelmingly won the overall International Winter Swimming Association World Cup title for the second consecutive season in the row with an impressive 708 points. He also set age-group world records in the 25m breaststroke (16.87), 50m breaststroke (37.63), 100m breaststroke (1:32.34), 200m breaststroke (3:36.87), 25m freestyle (13.90), 50m freestyle (31.31), and 25m butterfly (15.44). For his dominating performance on the International Winter Swimming World Cup circuit, for his versatility in swimming fast in cold water, and for representing Club Viktoriya, his region of Petrozavodsk and Russia very well in a fast-growing sport, Igor Lukin of Russia is a worthy nominee for the 2018 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.
6. Ion Lazarenco Tiron (Republic of Moldava/Ireland)
Ion Lazarenco Tiron did his first major open water swim with a 235 km Swimming Marathon Nistru – Unites Moldova stage swim that took 8 days – and raised lots of money for charity. He forged on and ultimately developed a massively hardened veneer and a tough mental attitude in his adopted Ireland. This year, he culminated his four-year Oceans Seven journey with a successful crossing of the Cook Strait. Along the way in the midst of receiving a slew of awards in Ireland and completing an Ice Mile, he has completed the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming as well as crossings of the Strait of Gibraltar (4 hours 41 minutes), English Channel (13 hours 34 minutes), North Channel (16 hours 23 minutes), Catalina Channel (12 hours 1 minute), Molokai Channel (18 hours 11 minutes), Tsugaru Channel (11 hours 20 minutes) and Cook Strait (11 hours 5 minutes). For becoming the first person from the Republic of Moldova to achieve the Oceans Seven, for serving as an ambassador of the sport and adapting to the Irish community of accomplished swimmers, and for showing that one's origins present no barrier to swimming across the world's most iconic channels while raising significant funds for charities in Moldova, Ion Lazarenco Tiron of the Republic of Moldova is a worthy nominee for the 2018 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.
7. John Batchelder (USA)
John Batchelder is marathon swimming butterflyer extraordinaire. Every year, he continues to push himself beyond the reasonable. This year, he set off across the English Channel, swimming only butterfly. He swam non-stop fly for 14 hours 36 minutes before an upset stomach in the Channel got the better of him. Within weeks, he set off to attempt an unprecedented 64.6 km two-way crossing of the Catalina Channel butterfly the next month. A record swim was not realized, but the 37-year-old did complete a successful one-way Catalina Channel crossing in California in 17 hours 14 minutes. He had little time for recovery before finishing the 25 km Border Buster in Vermont's Lake Memphremagog in 10 hours 22 minutes. His goal to match Vicki Keith's legendary 50-mile butterfly swim was then set for Lake Powell in Utah. That valiant butterfly swim ended after 53.9 km and about 28 hours during his second night when hallucinations got the better of him. For swimming for all the right reasons - keep in shape, to push himself, for fun and friendships, for becoming the world's most prolific marathon swimming butterflyer, and for continuing to strive for success even with DNF's along the way in swims that very few would attempt, John Batchelder of the USA is a worthy nominee for the 2018 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.
8. Jose Luis Larrosa Chorro (Spain)
Jose Luis Larrosa Chorro has established a foothold in Malaysia as a top swimmer, influential and popular coach who organizes short children swims and marathon swimmers for a growing field of international marathon swimmers. The 37-year-old also serves as the Global Manager for the Oceanman where his responsibilities include managing races in Malaysia, Spain, Russia, Italy, Greece, Mexico, Switzerland, Ukraine, Thailand, and the United Arab Emirates. He created a novel online open water coaching platform to popularize open water swimming in Southeast Asia. For his passion and knowledge of the sport as he travels globally including a new races from Brunei to Malaysia, for his ubiquitous presence at events in Singapore, Malaysia, Bangladesh, and India as a competitor, and for his podium finishes at the 81 km India National Open Water Swimming Competition in 11 hours 2 minutes and at the 16 km Perhentian Island Marathon Swim in 4 hours 7 minutes as he grows the Oceanman circuit to 24 countries, Jose Luis Larrosa Chorro of Spain is nominated for the 2018 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.
9. Kristóf Rasovszky (Hungary)
Kristóf Rasovszky is a threat to win every race he enters from 5 km to 25 km. He pushed world and Olympic champion in the 10 km race at the 2018 LEN European Championships in Loch Lomond, Scotland, finishing in an identical time. He also won the shortest (5 km) and longest (25 km) races at the European Championships in dramatic fashion with a powerful finishing kick. The 21-year-old also won the FINA/HOSA Marathon Swim World Series race in Setúbal Bay in Portugal. For his competitive spirit and composure during the highest levels of competition against the world's fastest veterans, for winning the 5 km race and 25 km race, finishing 10 km race and participating in the 5 km mixed team relay at the LEN European Championships in Scotland's Loch Lomond, for transitioning from a fast 1500m swimmer to a leading world-class open water swimmer in a short period of time, Kristóf Rasovszky of Hungary is a worthy nominee for the 2018 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.
10. Lewis Pugh (Great Britain/South Africa)
After a series of swims in Antarctica as part of his campaign to create three Marine Protection Areas, United Nations Environment Patron of the Oceans Lewis Pugh lobbied key government leaders and officials to establish a huge protection area in the Ross Sea in the Southern Ocean. While his previous ice swims attracted a lot of media attention, he decided to swim closer to people who can make a major environmental difference in 2018. He set off on a 560 km stage swim - called The Long Swim - across the British coast of the English Channel from Land's End in Cornwall to Dover in Kent. He finished after 49 days fighting currents, turbulence and tidal flows while engaging with locals and politicians along the way. For dreaming up, widely promoting, and successfully completing an unprecedented swim along - not across - the English Channel, for being an authentic, powerful and relentless voice for marine environmental protection and winning the Service to the Planet Award, and for encouraging and convincing the British government to protect 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030 that sets an impressive benchmark for other governments to follow, Lewis Pugh of Great Britain/South Africa is a worthy nominee for the 2018 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.
11. Maarten van der Weijden (Netherlands)
Maarten van der Weijden shocked the world - making Olympic history - when he became the first cancer survivor to win an Olympic gold medal in the most dramatic fashion possible. Rounding the last turn buoy in ninth position, van der Weijden won the 2008 Olympic 10K Marathon Swim...and then retired to the life of motivational speaking and corporate work. One of the most recognizable and personable ambassadors of open water swimming, he authored a book and continued to raise money for cancer research. Last year, he swam 99.5 km in 24 hours and raised €8500. In March, he tried a 24-hour swim again and broke the world record swimming 102.8 km. But he outdid himself in August when he attempted to swim the Elfstedentocht in the Netherlands. The dramatic swim was live streamed and, although his swim was cut short, he swam 163 km in 55 hours. For raising over €5 million for cancer charities, the greatest amount of donations from a solo charity swim in history, for representing himself, his country and the sport so well for so long as a amiable, seriously-minded ambassador, for living an inspirational life for people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities, Maarten van der Weijden of the Netherlands is a worthy nominee for the 2018 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.
12. Ned Denison (Ireland/USA)
Ned Denison is an accomplished swimmer with Ice Miles and 47 marathons including the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming, False Bay and the record holder in The Cold Half and S.C.A.R. Swim Challenge. But his influence is much greater and global as an administrator, visionary, motivator, coach and personable facilitator. His Cork Distance Week celebrated 10 years including nearly 100 attendees at The Triple Crown Dinner to celebrate 16 swimmers. He recognizes and honors swimmers around the world as the Chair of the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame. Growing internationally, he organized the last two induction dinners in London - with the first individuals honored from Sweden and South Africa and the second from China – leading to the first in Asia Pacific (Melbourne) in 2019. He communicates, he researches, he calls out safety issues, he recognizes heroes and heroines of the sport. For directing the limelight to both popular and relatively unknown luminaries in the ice swimming and marathon swimming communities, for bringing the open water swimming world together via news reports on social media augmented by a constant stream of communications, and for making everyone feel a part of a growing and more global network of like-minded swimmers, Ned Denison of Ireland/USA is a worthy nominee for the 2018 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.
13. Rohan More (India)
Living in Abu Dhabi and India during his Oceans Seven journey, Rohan Dattatrey More became the first person from India training in warm-water environs to complete the Oceans Seven. Since the age of 11, More has done marathon swims, first in his native lands and then across the English Channel (13 hours 13 minutes), Catalina Channel (10 hours 17 minutes), Molokai Channel (17 hours 28 minutes), North Channel (12 hours 46 minutes), Tsugaru Channel (10 hours 37 minutes), Strait of Gibraltar (3 hours 56 minutes), and Cook Strait (8 hours 37 minutes) between the ages of 28 and 32 while working as a software engineer. The 32-year-old was inducted as an Honor Swimmer in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame this year and won India’s prestigious Tenzing Norgay Award for his swimming exploits. For becoming the first person from south Asia to achieve the Oceans Seven, for serving as an ambassador of the sport and his native India throughout the world with a bright, genuine smile, and for showing that one's whereabouts and origins present no barrier to swimming across the world's most iconic channels, Rohan More of India is a worthy nominee for the 2018 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.
14. Vladimir Mravec (Slovakia/Australia)
Vladimir Mravec offers specialized training programs augmented by mental preparation and logistical advice, to swimmers in order so they enjoy their open water swimming journeys. His renowned program Vladswim has resulted in several dozens of swimmers from Australia completing channel swims and marathon swims, and competing in triathlons and masters events around the world. Mravec offers cold water camps, technique correction, and intense training sessions that instill self-confidence, develop character, and increase tenacity in order to achieve personal success including swims across the English Channel, North Channel, Catalina Channel, Molokai Channel, around Manhattan Island, Rottnest Channel and across Lake Zurich, and many others. In the last 10 years he coached 47 successful English Channel swimmers from Australia, UK, USA, Germany and Ireland, 9 Triple Crown Swimmers and more. Mravec has also coached a number of long distance swimmers from his native Slovakia including the first Slovakian female English Channel swimmer and the first Slovakian Triple Crown Swimmer. For shaping the athletic goals and enabling the success of adult swimmers in open bodies of water around the world, for providing a comprehensive training program that prepares swimmers for all types of conditions and courses, and for sharing his expertise and experience via the Vladswim program, coach and motivator Vladimir Mravec born in Slovakia is a worthy nominee for the 2018 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.
15. Yaroslav Pronin (Belarus)
Yaroslav Pronin is just plain fast - especially in a pool, preferably very cold. The 26-year-old Belarus native set a world record in the 25m butterfly at the Jelgava, Latvias Roni Cup in 12.23, in the 100m freestyle at the 2018 Winter Swimming World Championships in Tallinn, Estonia in 54:38, and in the 200m freestyle at the Russian Pacific Open Cup in Vladivostok, Russia in 2:02:59. These are all mind-boggling speedy in cold water considering there are no flip turns or dive starts in these races. Pronin demonstrated his speed by handily winning the 25m, 50m, 100m and 200m freestyle races and the 25m butterfly, and finished 2nd in the 25m and 50m breaststroke, and 6th in the 100m breaststroke at the 11th Winter Swimming World Championships on March 6th-11th in Tallinn, Estonia. For his raw speed in the cold, for winning 674 total points on the International Winter Swimming World Cup circuit, and for setting age group records in the 25m freestyle (11.26), 50m freestyle (24.87), 100m freestyle (54.38), 200m freestyle (2:02.59), and 25m butterfly (12.23) while representing Belarus and the Winter Swimming Club Belgart well in Latvia, Russia, United Kingdom, China, Sweden, and Estonia, Yaroslav Pronin of Belarus is a worthy nominee for the 2018 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.
Vote in All Four Categories
The World Open Water Swimming Association is pleased to present the 2018 WOWSA Award Nominees.
The nominees are presented in the following four categories:
WOWSA Members gain access to the Open Water Swimming Magazine