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2016 WOWSA AWARDS

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The World Open Water Swimming Association is pleased to present the 2016 WOWSA Award Nominees.

The nominees are presented in the following four categories:

Saturday, October 31, 2015

2015 World Open Water Swimming Man Of The Year Nominees

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

The nominees for the World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year are always an heroic and impressive group of individuals with exceptional exploits, histories and lifestyles.

The WOWSA Awards are not necessarily for the best athletes, but are meant to honor the men who:

* best embody the spirit of open water swimming,
* possess the sense of adventure, tenacity and perseverance that open water swimmers are known for, and
* have most positively influenced the world of open water swimming in calendar year 2015.

To vote for the 2015 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year, visit the WOWSA Awards here.

The inspirational group of 2015 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year nominees include:

1. Antonio Argüelles (Mexico) Channel Swimmer Redux
2. Attila Mányoki (Hungary) Prolific Ocean Swimmer
3. Ben Hooper (Great Britain) Transoceanic Challenger
4. Benoît Lecomte (France/U.S.A.) Transoceanic Adventurer
5. Christof Wandratsch (Germany) Ice Swimming Record Holder
6. Evgenij Pop Acev (Macedonia) FINA Grand Prix Champion
7. Ingemar Patiño Macarine (Philippines) Pinoy Aquaman
8. James Tout (U.S.A.) Long-overdue Triple Crowner
9. Lewis Pugh, OIG (Great Britain) Ocean Advocate
10. Rohans More (India) Oceans Seven Adventurer
11. Rostislav Vítek (Czech Republic) Ice Swimmer Extraordinaire
12. Simone Ruffini (Italy) Olympian & World Champion

1. Antonio Argüelles (Mexico) Channel Swimmer Redux
Argüelles is well on his way to accomplishing the Oceans Seven - at the age of 56. Already with 2 English Channel swims and 2 Catalina Channel swims under his cap, he knocked off the Strait of Gibraltar in 4 hours 23 minutes and the Tsugaru Channel in 12 hours 38 minutes with plans set for the Molokai Channel, Cook Strait and North Channel. He does this while balancing all kinds of corporate, governmental and philanthropic activities and inspiring an entire generations of his fellow Mexican swimmers of all ages through books, talks and his own indomitable spirit. For his unflagging spirit, for his writings and inspirational talks, and palpable joy while in the water, Antonio Argüelles is a worthy nominee for the 2015 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.

2. Attila Mányoki (Hungary) Prolific Ocean Swimmer
Mányoki is tearing through the Oceans Seven channels at a fast rate including doing the third fastest crossing of the Tsugaru Channel with a 7 hour 29 minute swim and setting the record across the Molokai Channel in 12 hours 2 minutes despite landing on the north shore of Oahu, a feat never before attempted or accomplished. He did his third Oceans Seven swim when he completed a 10 hour 59 minute crossing of the Catalina Channel. The 31-year-old awed his Japanese, Hawaiian and Californian crews and the general public back in his native Hungary. For his eloquent interviews and explanations why he enjoys open water swimming, for his prolific track record in the open water, and his ambassadorship for the sport, Attila Mányoki is a worthy nominee for the 2015 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.

3. Ben Hooper (Great Britain) Transoceanic Challenger
Hooper started his Swim The Big Blue across the Atlantic Ocean in November with the ultimate goal to swim every mile across the Atlantic Ocean from Dakar, Sénégal to Natal, Brazil. Hooper, an self-described common man who overcame death as a child, will swim up to 12 hours per day every day for up to 4 months, a scheduled stage swim adventure of at least 1,731 mile (2,786 km) in length. For his logistical planning and fundraising to attempt an unprecedented transoceanic crossing, for his inspirational activities, and for his work with university researchers in the fields of psychology, endurance nutrition, expedition medicine, and oceanography, Ben Hooper is a worthy nominee for the 2015 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.

4. Benoît Lecomte (France/U.S.A.) Transoceanic Adventurer
Ben Lecomte started The Longest Swim, a pioneering transoceanic stage swim across the Pacific Ocean from Tokyo, Japan to San Francisco, U.S.A. the 48-year-old Lecomte will swim up to 8 hours per day every day for up to 6 months, a scheduled solo adventure of 5,500 miles (8,851 km) using fins, snorkels, googles and wetsuits while conducting innovative research in medicine and oceanography by wearing a special wearable RadBand contaminants/radiation collector and using NASA’s remote guidance echo to study his microbiome (microscopic lifeforms that colonize the human body). For his logistical planning and fundraising to attempt literally the world's longest swim, for attempting a dream to complete his second transoceanic crossing with live webcasting, for his coordination and cooperation with researchers and scientists interested in the marine environment, Benoît Lecomte is a worthy nominee for the 2015 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.

5. Christof Wandratsch (Germany) Ice Swimmer Record Holder
Christof Wandratsch is flat-out, mind-boggling, world-class fast and has been all his life in both international competitions and as a soloist in lakes, rivers, seas and oceans. "Wandi" not only set a record across the Bodensee, a 12 km swim in 2 hours 28 minutes, but he also set the record for a 1000m ice swim at the inaugural International Ice Swimming Championships in Murmansk, Russia in 13:00.51, swimming in 0°C water and -7°C air. The 49-year-old hosted the Ice Swimming German Open - 1st Aqua Sphere Ice Swimming where ice swimmers competed in 25m, 50m, 450m, and 1000m races. For his speed at any distance and any water temperatures, for his administration and ambassadorship in the ice swimming world, and for his cheerfulness and joy in sharing his love of the open water, Christof Wandratsch is a worthy nominee for the 2015 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.

6. Evgenij Pop Acev (Macedonia) FINA Grand Prix Champion
Evgenij Pop Acev always competes, but 2015 was definitely his award-winning year. The 27-year-old won the FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix title for the first time, a fitting cumulation to a long season in which he placed 4th in Argentina'a 25 km Maratón Internacional Aguas Abiertas Villa Urquiza - Paraná, 6th in Mexico's 15 km Maratón Cancún, 5th in Canada's 32 km Traversée internationale du lac St-Jean, 1st in Macedonia's 33 km Ohridski Plivački Maraton, 2nd in Italy's 36 km Maratona del Golfo Capri-Napoli as well as finished 14th at the 25 km FINA World Championship race and concurrently competes on the FINA/HOSA 10K Marathon Swimming World Cup circuit where he competed in Abu Dhabi, Cancún, Balatonfured, Setúbal Bay, Lac St-Jean, Lac-Mégantic, China and Hong Kong. For his willingness to travel the world, for becoming Macedonia's first FINA Grand Prix champion, and for his world-class stamina, Evgenij Pop Acev is a worthy nominee for the 2015 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.

7. Ingemar Patiño Macarine (Philippines), Pinoy Aquaman
Ingemar Patiño Macarine has transitioned from a middle-aged triathlete to an inspirational open water swimmer with a large national fan base and big dreams. He has significantly energized the Filipino open water swimming community with his unprecedented several solo marathon swims throughout his native Philippines over the last 3 years. In 2015, he completed the 10.5 km Hinatuan Passage in 5 hours 8 minutes, the 19.9 km Cebu Channel crossing in 7 hours 45 minutes, and the 12.9 km Saranggani Bay while promoting local areas for tourism and clean sea. For his enthusiastic love of open water swimming adventures, for devising all types of unprecedented crossings in a country where many thousands of more pioneering swims are possible, and for his dream of attempting many more ocean and channel swims, Ingemar Patiño Macarine is a worthy nominee for the 2015 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.

8. James Tout (U.S.A.) Long-overdue Triple Crowner
James Tout became the second oldest person to achieve the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming, but the 62-year-old from Austin, Texas did it in dramatic fashion over a 4-day period where he completed his 10th lifetime circumnavigation, a 28.5-mile swim around Manhattan Island in New York performed only three days after completing his 20.2-mile Catalina Channel crossing in 11 hours 18 minutes in California. Most incredibly, his latest Manhattan Island Marathon Swim was his lifetime best in 7 hours 31 minutes, beating his previously best time set in 1991 as a 34-year-old. For battling back from heart disease, for achieving his goal of 2 marathon swims in 4 days, and for swimming the fastest he has even swum around Manhattan Island after nearly 3 decades, James Tout is a worthy nominee for the 2015 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.

9. Lewis Pugh, OIG (Great Britain) Ocean Advocate
Lewis Pugh never stops fighting for mankind's future. Over a period of 15 days in February and March, the renowned ocean advocate, completed a series of four frigid swims in Antarctica to spur governments to declare the pristine Ross Sea a Marine Protected Area. His swims included swims at Campbell Island at 52º South, Cape Adare at 71º South, and Peter 1 Island at 69º South. His final 350-meter swim along the Ross Ice Shelf at the Bay of Whales at 78.3º South was the most southern swim ever undertaken – or can be undertaken in waters between 0ºC and was conducted under the most inhospitable conditions imaginable. The sea was -1ºC, the air temperature was -37ºC, and the wind was gusting 40 knots. For his innovative means to generate global attention that helps positively reshape the marine world, for his pioneering swims in Antarctica in such challenging conditions and for setting the standard in creating environmental swims, Lewis Pugh is a worthy nominee for the 2015 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.

10. Rohans More (India) Oceans Seven Adventurer
Rohans More knows how to program his life as he steadily climbs the Oceans Seven rankings. The 29-year-old software programmer became the first Indian to successfully complete a crossing in the swirling eddies of the Tsugaru Channel in Japan (in a fast 10 hours 37 minutes) as well as a tough, jellyfish-strewn crossing of the North Channel in 12 hours 46 minutes. He also completed the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming with a 7 hour 43 minute Manhattan Island Marathon Swim to add to his growing resume of marathon swims. For his ability to handle cold, rough waters far removed from his training base in warm waters, for his constant smile before, during and after his channel swims, and for his ambassadorship of open water swimming in different communities, Rohans More is a worthy nominee for the 2015 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.

11. Rostislav Vítek (Czech Republic) Ice Swimmer Extraordinaire
Rostislav Vítek has transitioned in his twenties from being a fast competitive swimmer to top Olympic 10K marathon swimmer. His transformation continued in his thirties to becoming one of the fastest channel swimmers in history and now he has found his ultimate niche as an ice swimmer. He set the ice mile record in Blansko, Czech Republic in 4.83°C water and 1°C air temperature with a time of 20:29, beating the previously fastest man in the ice swimming community, Christof Wandratsch. Since Philip Emslie first set the ice mile record with a 22:30 in South Africa, Vítek has dropped the record 2 minutes in 4 years. The 39-year-old is helping push the boundaries of human endurance and cold water acclimatization as he enters his fourth decade of swimming. For his world-class speed, for his transformation and wide-ranging open water swimming capabilities, and for his sense of adventure to try something new, Rostislav Vítek is a worthy nominee for the 2015 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.

12. Simone Ruffini (Italy) Olympian & World Champion
Simone Ruffini made a remarkable triple performance at the FINA World Championships in Kazan, Russia. Not only did he qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games in the 10 km marathon swim, but he also swam an average pace of 1:10.3 per 100 meters in strategically winning the 25 km world title in 4 hours 53 minutes. But his hard training and competitive spirit in the water was secondary to his boldness and creativity on dryland. He topped off his aquatic exploits with a marriage proposal to fellow world-class swimmer Aurora Ponsele on the awards podium and in front of a global audience. For his heartfelt proposal in front of cameras and eyeballs around the world, for his gold medal victory and Olympic marathon swimming qualification, and for executing upon so many life-changing activities during the 2015 world championships, Simone Ruffini is a worthy nominee for the 2015 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.

To vote for the 2015 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year, visit the WOWSA Awards here. Voting continues until December 31st 2015.

The previous World Open Water Swimming Men of the Year include:

* 2008 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year: Randy Nutt of the USA
* 2009 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year: Petar Stoychev of Bulgaria
* 2010 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year: Marcos Diaz of the Dominican Republic
* 2011 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year: Jamie Patrick of the USA
* 2012 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year: Stephen Redmond of Ireland
* 2013 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year: Pádraig Mallon of Ireland
* 2014 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year: Henri Kaarma of Estonia

Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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