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
Offering of the Year
- A History of Marathon Swimming (USA) by Joe Grossman & Steve Walker
- AKUA Kelp Jerky (USA) by Courtney Boyd Myers
- Asociación de Cruce a Nado del Río de la Plata (Argentina) by Lucas Rivet
- ENERGYbits® (USA) by Catharine Arnston
- Icebears Hintertux (Austria) by Josef Köberl
- International Ice Swimming Association World Cup Series (Global) by Ram Barkai
- Marathon Swimming: The Sport of the Soul (USA) by Paul Asmuth
- Maelstrom Seven (Global) by Wild Swimming Brothers
- Ontberingen van een marathonzwemster / Hardships Of A Marathonswimmer (Netherlands) by Monique Blok-Wildschut
- Patagonia Swim (Chile) by Cristian Vergara and Julieta Núñez Gundlach
- St. Lucia Channel Swim (St. Lucia & Martinique) by Sue Dyson and Nathaniel Waring
- Tahiti Swimming Experience (Tahiti) by Stéphane Debaere & Tahitian Swimming Federation
- Take Your Dream (Australia) by Eric, Hunter and Tuck Helmick
- TOWER 26 (USA) by Gerry Rodrigues
- Waikiki Roughwater Swim DIY Swim Certificate (Hawaii) by Michael Rök & Jim Cotton
1. A History of Marathon Swimming (USA) by Joe Grossman & Steve Walker
In order to preserve the colorful and rich history of marathon swimming, International Swimming Hall of Fame and International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame dual inductee Dale Petranech kept alive his dream of publishing the personal files of World Professional Marathon Swimming Association administrator Joe Grossman. Despite Grossman's passing in 1974, Petranech faithfully maintained a huge stack of his personally typewritten pages for nearly 5 decades. Steve Walker edited the comprehensively compiled hundreds of pages of notes, observations, recollections and data from solo swims and competitions in numerous bodies of water around the globe. For colorfully recapturing and reformatting the incredibly detailed and long-lost slices of aquatic history over 536 pages, for publishing first-person recollections in A History of Marathon Swimming released 43 years after Grossman's death, and for enabling modern-day swimmers to savor an invaluable treasure that describes the achievements of the swimmers, promoters, coaches and pilots from 1875 to 1974 from the English Channel to the Canadian National Exhibition events, the book A History of Marathon Swimming is a worthy nominee for the 2018 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
2. AKUA Kelp Jerky (USA) by Courtney Boyd Myers
AKUA created its first product, Kelp Jerky, that is part of a new wave of plant-based cuisine made from sustainably harvested ocean seagreens. Kelp Jerky is changing consumer perceptions of eating healthy, delicious seafood by working with the plants that grow just beyond every shoreline in the world. Seaweed farming has the potential to be the most sustainable form of agriculture on the planet - and AKUA is paving the way with its tasty product that includes all types of vitamins, minerals and omegas. Kelp Jerky requires no fresh water, no land, no deforestation, and no feed or fertilizer to grow. For its innovative, out-of-the-box thinking by chefs, creative types, and ocean farmers, for building a new platform to launch healthy food that is good for humans and the planet, for shaping mindsets and transforming palates to enjoy seafood that grows without pesticides or fertilizers, AKUA's Kelp Jerky by Courtney Boyd Myers is a worthy nominee for the 2018 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
3. Asociación de Cruce a Nado del Río de la Plata (Argentina) by Lucas Rivet
Cross-border swims like the Strait of Gibraltar (Spain-Morocco), In Search of Memphre (USA-Canada), Xiamen-Kinmen Swimming Competition (China and Taiwan), Beagle Channel (Argentina-Chile), and Strait of Bonifacio (France-Italy) are wonderfully memorable point-to-point swims. These lake and sea swims enable swimmers to achieve a profound connection between one country and another. These swim present a different sort of logistical, operational, linguistic, and cultural obstacles for swimmers and their organizers and escort pilots. Lucas Rivet has crossed all of these barriers with his Asociación de Cruce a Nado del Río de la Plata, a young governing body that organizes and ratifies 42.2 km solo swims across the Río de la Plata between Argentina and Uruguay. For organizing a new difficult marathon swim that is in warm, turbulent waters with a professional, experienced, safety-conscious staff and volunteers, for promoting the crossing with the successful swims of two of the most popular South American swimmers (Pilar Geijo in 9 hours 33 minutes and Damián Blaum in 9 hours 6 minutes), and for commemorating the original course established by Lilian Harrison who crossed in 1923 in 24 hours 19 minutes, the Asociación de Cruce a Nado del Río de la Plata by Lucas Rivet is a worthy nominee for the 2018 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
4. ENERGYbits® (USA) by Catharine Arnston
ENERGYbits® helps consumers understand the health, athletic and environmental benefits of algae, the world's most nutrient dense, high protein, plant-based, sustainable food and has been endorsed by the United Nations and World Bank as the answer to world hunger. It has also been endorsed by NASA and scientific organizations as the most natural, safe, pure, eco-friendly food that improves energy, focus, athletic performance, longevity and wellness. ENERGYbits® has brought algae into the Western mainstream where it is desperately needed because the world is toxic, the oceans are polluted, the soil is nutrient deprived, athletes are fuelled with unhealthy sugar, and rates of chronic diseases are skyrocketing. Algae removes toxins, prevents or reverses most chronic disease, is a sustainable crop, and is not only the most nutritionally dense food in the world but also the most scientifically studied food in the world (100,000 studies). For communicating the benefits of algae to consumers, athletes or environmentalists, for creating and providing an alkaline/plant-based nutrition that can help people heal naturally, for its sustainability and eco-friendliness, ENERGYbits® by Catharine Arnston is a worthy nominee for the 2018 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
5. Icebears Hintertux (Austria) by Josef Köberl
Josef Köberl, president of the Ice Swimming Association Austria, loves the extreme. He loves the cold and pushing himself and sharing his passion with other like-minded athletes. So he organizes the Austrian Ice Swimming Championships and created the Icebears Hintertux, a 3-day high-altitude glacier training camp that is held in Hintertuxer Gletscher in Austria. The two workouts daily camp offers both extreme ice swim and pool training sessions. For organizing and teaching interested swimmers how to acclimate and train in high-altitude extreme conditions, for safely organizing glacier swims in a uniquely beautiful ice chamber in 0°C water and 0°C air at 3200 meters altitude, and for meeting the needs of channel swimmers and ice swimmers and pushing their physical and mental boundaries, the Icebears Hintertux camp by Josef Köberl is a worthy nominee for the 2018 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
6. International Ice Swimming Association World Cup Series (Global) by Ram Barkai
The benefits of cold water swimming has been known for millennia, but it was only in 2009 that the sport of ice swimming was formalized and popularized by Ram Barkai and his South African colleagues. After defining ice swimming as a completion of at least 1 km in 5°C water and creating a ratification process, the International Ice Swimming Association has been rapidly expanding on a hockey stick uptick. Its growth is documented on every parameter: increases in corporation sponsorship, television and media exposure, number of official Ice Miles completed, and professionally-run international competitions. The International Ice Swimming Association World Cup Series is the latest embodiment of growth and popularity. The Series includes several events for newcomers and veterans: 50m butterfly, 100m breaststroke, 200m, 500m and 1 km freestyle races as well as 4 x 50m and 4 x 100m relays. For creating a formalized, global excitement about the sport of ice swimming, for standardizing safety, logistical and operational procedures around the world across cultures and in different languages from Russian and Chinese, Norwegian to Czech, for continuing to enhance the competitive experiences for ice swimmers of all ages and abilities, the International Ice Swimming Association World Cup Series by Ram Barkai is a worthy nominee for the 2018 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
7. Marathon Swimming: The Sport of the Soul (USA) by Paul Asmuth
Paul Asmuth competed in 59 professional marathon swimming races and crossed the English Channel three times over a lengthy career that coincided with a successful career as a CPA in California. He won 7 World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation titles and set records from Canada to Italy. As the dominant figure in marathon swimming during the 1980's, he struck fear in the hearts of his competitors. But deep down in his own heart and soul, God played a major role in his success. He describes in Marathon Swimming: The Sport of the Soul how God directed him throughout his life, putting him in the right place and surrounding him with supportive coaches and teammates. For frankly telling his journey with God throughout myriad bodies of water around the world, for retelling his thoughts and actions in several iconic professional marathon swimming races, and sharing his stories of passion, faith and grit, Marathon Swimming: The Sport of the Soul by Paul Asmuth is a worthy nominee for the 2018 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
8. Maelstrom Seven (Global) by Wild Swimming Brothers
The Wild Swimming Brothers consistently live up to their name. Non-traditional, out-of-the-box thinkers and doers, the three brothers (Little Brother Jack, Middle Brother Calum, and Big Brother Robbie) do all kinds of wild swimming and have been venturing out to do incredibly risky open water swims in, through and near whirlpools. Similar to marathon swimming’s Oceans Seven and ice swimming’s Ice Sevens, the Hudson Brothers created the Maelstrom Seven. This series of 7 solo swims through, around or near famous whirlpools around the world including Moskstraumen and Saltstraumen in Norway, Corryvreckan in Scotland, Naruto whirlpools in Japan, Te Aumiti in New Zealand, and Old Sow and Skookumchuck in Canada. To date, the brothers have completed swims across the Moskstraumen, Saltstraumen and Corryvreckan and now turn their attention to the Japanese whirlpools of Naruto. For creatively introducing unusual venues to the global open water swimming ecosystem, for developing a new bucket list of swims around the world, and for being such enthusiastic, personable ambassadors of the sport who are developing a unique niche, the Maelstrom Seven by the Wild Swimming Brothers is a worthy nominee for the 2018 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
9. Ontberingen van een marathonzwemster / Hardships Of A Marathonswimmer (Netherlands) by Monique Blok-Wildschut
Monique Blok-Wildschut was the greatest professional marathon swimmer of her generation. She was the six-time World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation champion between 1983 and 1988. The longer, the colder, the rougher the conditions, the tougher, the stronger, the faster the Dutch swimmer became. A typical race saw her go head-to-head against the best men in her era including at the Traversée internationale du lac St-Jean in Canada where she placed second overall in the 64 km Traversée in 17 hours 28 minutes. Although she made the swims look easy, her efforts were anything but. Her 2015 autobiography Ontberingen van een marathonzwemster (Rigors of a marathon swimmer) has been translated from Dutch into English and published as Hardships Of A Marathonswimmer. For dramatically retelling her challenges and successes in a 140-page well-written book, for sharing her inner thoughts about her victories and difficulties in both turbulent and tranquil conditions, for remaining a humble, eloquent ambassador of the open water swimming community, Ontberingen van een marathonzwemster / Hardships Of A Marathonswimmer by Monique Blok-Wildschut is a worthy nominee for the 2018 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
10. Patagonia Swim (Chile) by Cristian Vergara and Julieta Núñez Gundlach
Patagonia is for the hardened swimmer, extreme athletes who are looking for the ultimate in rough, cold, unpredictable conditions. Patagonia Swim was co-founded and is co-managed by Cristian Vergara and Julieta Nuñez, two extreme athletes who know first-hand what it takes to be safe and successful in swimming in Patagonia at the bottom of the South American continent. The multi-lingual pair provide a unique service that organizes, plans and overseas unprecedented and traditional solo swims in the Beagle Channel, the Straits of Magellan, and Cape Horn while coordinating with the Chilean navy and local governmental authorities. For providing expert swimmer guidance, escort boats, safety, and logistical support in some of the world's most risky open water swims, for promoting interest in Patagonia swimming and extreme swimming in South America, and for observing and authenticating official swims by swimmers of all ages and abilities, Patagonia Swim by Cristian Vergara and Julieta Núñez Gundlach is a worthy nominee for the 2018 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
11. St. Lucia Channel Swim (St. Lucia & Martinique) by Sue Dyson and Nathaniel Waring
Whether a channel swim is 32.3 km (Catalina Channel), 33.8 km (English Channel), or 35 km (North Channel), any crossing over 30 km represents an epic distance and presents all kinds of challenges from currents and jellyfish to winds and waves. Nathaniel Waring, Sue Dyson and their colleagues on St. Lucia in the Caribbean Sea have organized a new warm-water channel swim for channel swimmers of all ages and abilities around the world. The 33.5 km (20.8-mile) between the island of St. Lucia in the south and the island of Martinique in the north in the Eastern Caribbean Sea’s Windward Islands that can be attempted year-round in addition to a race held in July that includes 1 km, 3 km and 5 km races and clinics. For creating a warm-water (25°C - 26°C) channel swim between volcanic islands with beautiful green mountains with Atlantic Ocean swells with dynamic conditions, for organizing an international event co-hosted by the Ministry of Tourism and the Department of Youth & Sports, and for establishing a swim that can become a warm water crossing that attracts top open water swimmers from around the world, the St. Lucia Channel Swim between St. Lucia and Martinique by Sue Dyson and Nathaniel Waring is a worthy nominee for the 2018 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
12. Tahiti Swimming Experience (Tahiti) by Stéphane Debaere & Tahitian Swimming Federation
Stéphane Debaere’s roots are in Tahiti, where he created in collaboration with the Tahitian Swimming Federation, the Tahiti Swimming Experience, of which he is the godfather. The 7-day ocean swimming event combines various short relay swims with 2 km, 2.5 km, 5 km and 10 km coastal swim in both Tahiti and Mo'orea in French Polynesia. Local beginner swimmers, renowned Olympic medalists and veteran world champions join together to enjoy a number of different ocean courses in Tahiti's water that is literally a living aquarium. Olympic coaches including Philippe Lucas and Stéphane Lecat lend their expertise over a week in Tahiti and Mo'orea where cultural events and marine conservation projects are also available when swimming races are not held. For introducing a world-class open water extravaganza to the South Pacific islands of Tahiti and Mo'orea, for offering one of the world's most gorgeous ocean swims in warm, tropical waters, for enabling swimmers to preserve coral gardens by adopting a coral and participate in safeguarding Tahiti's coral, the Tahiti Swimming Experience by Stéphane Debaere & Tahitian Swimming Federation is a worthy nominee for the 2018 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
13. Take Your Dream (Australia) by Eric, Hunter and Tuck Helmick
American firefighter Eric Helmick and his two son, Hunter and Tuck, took on the challenge of a self-sustained stage swim down Australia’s longest river, the River Murray, a distance of over 2,400 km to order to inspire youth. Their Team Help! journey began in the Snowy Mountains and ended 120 days later in South Australia and the Southern Ocean. They captured the attention of everyone they met along the way and documented their adventures and achievements in a documentary filmed titled Take Your Dream. For doing something epic to inspire people and serve as a catalyst for transformation, for meeting locals and schools along their stage swim and encouraging them to believe in themselves, and producing a film to share with others, Take Your Dream by Eric, Hunter and Tuck Helmick is a worthy nominee for the 2018 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
14. TOWER 26 (USA) by Gerry Rodrigues
Tower 26 is a lifeguard station in Santa Monica, California. Gerry Rodrigues combined this local gathering place for triathletes with his deep knowledge of open water swimming to create the TOWER 26 team and brand from Pacific Palisades in Southern California. Rodrigues, a masters world open water swimming champion, has fashioned a lifestyle and knowledge-base that has taken the triathlon world by storm. TOWER 26 also produced over 60 "Be Race Ready" podcasts that have been downloaded over 680,000 times. Rodrigues and co-host Jim Lubinski, cover all aspects of triathlon swimming, training and race preparation for triathletes who represent the largest demographic group in the open water swimming community. For sharing innumerable tips and approximately 40 hours of free advice via the "Be Race Ready" podcast - the world’s most popular triathlon swimming podcast, for shaping a simple lifeguard station into a globally-known brand, for tirelessly and passionately coaching over 1,000 swimmers and triathletes monthly, Tower 26 by Gerry Rodrigues is a worthy nominee for the 2018 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
15. Waikiki Roughwater Swim DIY Swim Certificate (Hawaii) by Michael Rök & Jim Cotton
The Waikiki Roughwater Swim has been attracting many Olympic swimmers, fast master swimmers, and all kinds of recreational swimmers to Honolulu, Hawaii since 1970. Starting next to the Diamond Head volcano and stretching across one of the world's most famous beaches, 33,881 swimmers have completed the 2.4-mile Waikiki Roughwater Swim. Swimmers from 25 countries come back every year to the middle of the Pacific in order experience the beauty and competitiveness of the race where 11 swimmers have completed the race more than 30 times. Swimmers can log in, automatically find, and print out their own swim completion certificates in their home or office. The official certificates and database - created by Jim Cotton and developed by Michael Rök - includes their official time and overall and age-group placing. It is a convenient, immediate way to document and confirm one's performance relative to the thousands of others who have done the iconic swim. For making an easy-to-use, automated service, for uploading and archiving every single finisher and their times and placing for historical purposes, and for continuing to add new features and services to one of the world's best oceans swims, the Waikiki Roughwater Swim DIY Swim Certificate program by Jim Cotton and Michael Rök is a worthy nominee for the 2018 World Open Water Swimming Offering 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