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Friday, October 30, 2015

2015 World Open Water Swimming Offering Of The Year Nominees

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year is an annual award that is meant to identify products, services, events and organizations that:

(1) best support and assist open water swimmers achieve their goals,
(2) are innovative, unique and beneficial to open water swimmers, race directors, coaches or administrators, and
(3) have made the most positive impact on the world of open water swimming during the calendar year.

The nominees for the World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year are unique products, services, events and organizations with an exceptional twist and extraordinary value to open water swimmers around the world.

To vote for the WOWSA Awards, visit here. Voting continues until December 31st 2015.

The nominees for the 2015 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year include:

1. Axis Buoy by FINIS (U.S.A.)
2. Best Places To Swim by Orca (New Zealand)
3. Chillswim Coniston by Chillswim (Great Britain)
4. Find A Way by Diana Nyad (U.S.A.)
5. IOLITE by Stephen Holm, Raymond Rogers, Justin Peck (U.S.A.)
6. Lake Geneva Swimming Association by Ben Barham (Switzerland)
7. Madswimmers Charity Swims by Jean Craven (South Africa)
8. Samsung Boğaziçi Kıtalararası Yüzme Yarışı (Bosphorus Cross-Continental Swim) by the National Olympic Committee of Turkey (Turkey)
9. Sting No More™ by Dr. Angel Yanagihara (U.S.A.)
10. Swim Across America (U.S.A.)
11. The SwimCross (Switzerland)
12. SwimEars® by Hans Henrik Heming (Denmark)
13. Swimmit by Ivan Peralta (Spain)
14. SwimTrack by Evan Morrison (U.S.A.)
15. WEST (Water World Swimming Therapy) (Israel)
16. World Ice Swimming Championships (Russia)

1. Axis Buoy by FINIS (U.S.A.)
The Axis Buoy is another outstanding product envisioned and created by FINIS. The multi-function pull buoy can be used as a traditional buoy, isolating the legs while utilizing the core and upper body muscles and serving as an ankle float that encourages better body alignment and a more horizontal body position on the surface of the water, which helps to increase stroke efficiency. The ergonomic design allows the device to be easily moved from the upper legs to the ankles and can also be used as a kickboard and a comfortable pillow to use on the deck of an escort boat, in the bleachers by a swimming pool, on the beach, or on a long flight in an airplane. For its versatility and utility, for its ergonomic design, and for its designers who took a year to develop it, the Axis Buoy by FINIS is a worthy nominee for the 2015 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.

2. Best Places To Swim by Orca (New Zealand)
Best Places to Swim is Orca's new service that enables the ability for the global community for open water swimmers and triathletes to can upload and describe their favorite open water courses. Athletes can both teach and share their favorite courses as well as learn and download information from other courses that swimmers have recommended. The information includes the difficulty of the course (easy, medium, hard), services available (restrooms, locker rooms, showers, bar, restaurant), safety conditions to be aware of (rocks, marine life, currents), and ample room to describe the courses as much detail as necessary. For its core business of sports apparel to social media offerings, for its global outlook from Down Under to across the world's continents, and for an easy-to-use, convenient service, Best Places to Swim by Orca is a worthy nominee for the 2015 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.

3. Chillswim Coniston by Chillswim (Great Britain)
Chillswim Coniston is driving more and more people of all ages and abilities to significantly extend themselves in the open water. Held in Coniston in the Lake District of England, the challenging shore-to-shore 5.25-mile maxed out at 750 participants wearing the mandatory Swim Secure tow-float. A great linear layout with mile markers and four feed station boats, swimmers were treated to hydration, energy gels, jelly babies and bananas as sustenance where finish times ranged between 2-7 hours for swimmers with and without wetsuits. For its focus on and attention to swimmers from all walks of life and myriad goals, for its safety-focused, well-oiled production of a point-to-point swim, and for its attention to detail and delivery of another sold-out open water swimming extravaganza, the Chillswim Coniston is a worthy nominee for the 2015 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.

4. Find A Way by Diana Nyad (U.S.A.)
Diana Nyad wrote her memoirs about her tenacious 52 hour 54 minute swim from Havana, Cuba to the shores of Florida across the Gulf Stream and the Straits of Florida. Although her Cuba swim is the focus of the 304-page book, all kinds of lifetime experiences and recollections keep readers engaged throughout. Her eloquence comes through loud and clear as readers can derive a number of inspirational messages on how they can reach their own shores – no matter what the age or goals of the reader. For triumphantly completing her dream to dramatically swim from Cuba to Florida at the age of 64, for sharing her difficult, multi-decade path to realize this dream and infusing her story with all kinds of heart-felt advice, and for always encouraging and showing others how to chase their dreams no matter what their age, Diana Nyad’s Find A Way is a worthy nominee for the 2015 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.

5. IOLITE by Stephen Holm, Raymond Rogers, Justin Peck (U.S.A.)
Eons ago, the Vikings were extraordinarily skilled navigators in the harsh oceanic conditions who used the mineral iolite that could pinpoint the sun despite heavy cloud cover, allowing them to navigate in otherwise impossible conditions. Their remarkable navigational IQ can now be replicated by an invention developed by Utah triathletes Stephen Holm, Raymond Rogers, and Justin Peck. The trio has integrated modern-day technologies with IOLITE to help solve one of the greatest challenges of swimming in the open water: navigation. A tiny LED array in the IOLITE goggle lens while swimming in the water provides input for the straightest swim possible. For enabling open water swimmers and triathletes to swim along their designated course on a straight line by giving directional instructions inside goggles, for offering a high-precision GPS tracking device that is placed on the back of swim goggles, and for providing real-time navigational feedback and post-swim data analyses to swimmers, the IOLITE goggles is a worthy nominee for the 2015 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.

6. Lake Geneva Swimming Association by Ben Barham Switzerland)
The Lake Geneva Swimming Association took a beautiful venue in Switzerland that had only been previously crossed twice before and promoted it as the 69 km Ultimate Trophy Swim. Ben Barham not only established a new governing body that welcomes soloists and relays, but also established a visual record of its attempts and successes. For supporting the 28 hour 12 minute efforts of Kate Mason and Julia Aston, for supporting the 32 hour 52 minute crossing by Jaimie Monahan, and for putting another gorgeous venue on the global marathon swimming map, the Lake Geneva Swimming Association completed a 2-person relay across Lake Geneva under the auspices of the Lake Geneva Swimming Association is a worthy nominee for the 2015 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.

7. Madswimmers Charity Swims by Jean Craven (South Africa)
Madswimmers has been raising funds for good children causes throughout its existence. This year, their challenge was an unprecedented 35 km Swahili Channel Crossing between Zanzibar Island and the mainland of Tanzania. Founded by Jean Craven in 2009, Madswimmers have also crossed Lake Tanganyika (38 km 12 hours), Sterkfontein Dam crossing (17 km), Knysna Lagoon (14.5 km in winter) and Lewis Tarn, the highest lake in Africa on Mt Kenya (4800m above sea level), raising more than US$300,000 for its causes. Madswimmers Jean Craven, Juandre Human, Hardi Wilkins and Megan Harrington-Johnson crossed the highest water body in Africa, Lewis Tarn at 4700 meters above sea level high up on the slopes in Mount Kenya in 6.5°C water. It was a training swim for their Ojos Swim which is at 6,300 meter with 1-2°C water. For having to carry chain saws up at 6,300 meters to cut open the top ice layer, for raising money and awareness of various children charities, and for helping push forward the frontiers of high-altitude swims, the Madswimmers Charity Swims are a worthy nominee for the 2015 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.

8. Sting No More™ by Dr. Angel Yanagihara (U.S.A.)
Sting No More™ is an over-the-counter cosmetic-category brand that includes jellyfish relief cream that used to protect against the venom by the box jellyfish. Developed by Dr. Angel Yanagihara who specializes in venom research, the pharmaceutical preparations are specifically designed for ocean swimmers, professional divers, military personnel and clinical applications used by health care professionals. For the state-of-the-art research results in the prevention of specific inhibitors of dangerous venom toxins, for the greatly appreciated treatment for envenomation sequelae, and for its scientifically-sound approach that can withstand any peer review, Sting No More™ is a worthy nominee for the World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.

9. Samsung Boğaziçi Kıtalararası Yüzme Yarışı (Samsung Intercontinental Bosphorus Swimming Competition) by the National Olympic Committee of Turkey
Point-to-point swims in shifting currents and tides always provide the self-satisfaction and challenge that is easy for open water swimmers to understand and feel. But when a swim ties together two of the Earth's continents in an iconic setting with thousands of other participants, the challenge becomes much more profoundly satisfying. Samsung Boğaziçi Kıtalararası Yüzme Yarışı provides the logistics and safety net for swimmers around the world to swim 6.5 km across the Istanbul Strait between Asia and Europe. Starting on the Asian side of the Bosphorus to Kuruçesme on the European side, the event is so massively popular and well-organized that it is natural the international open water extravaganza has grown from 68 swimmers in 1989 to nearly 5,000 participants. For the professional organization of the event by the National Olympic Committee of Turkey, for the production of a challenging event across a dynamically moving body of water in a such an iconic location, and for the joyful multi-cultural, multi-lingual ambiance of bioprened and neoprened swimmers, Samsung Boğaziçi Kıtalararası Yüzme Yarışı is a worthy nominee for the World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.

10. Swim Across America (U.S.A.)
Swim Across America continues to power on, making waves in the charity swim community since 1987. The volunteer-supported organization, led by Janel Jorgensen McArdle and engineered by a passionate army of donors, forges on as it continues to improve and expand its events and domestic and international offerings. The non-profit group engaged with 53,437 donors and hosted dozens of events for 7,191 participants that generated US$6.27 million in donations in 2015. These funds support dozens of cancer research institutions and programs from coast to coast. For its continuous growth ever so selflessly and innovatively, for donating millions of dollars for cancer research, prevention and treatment, and for instigating a powerful response from the swimming community to fight cancer in a respectful and joyful manner, Swim Across America is a worthy nominee for the World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.

11. The SwimCross (Switzerland)
SwimCross is an innovative and enjoyable open water swimming lake competition with four purposeful obstacles situated along its course in Strandbad in Uster Zurich, Switzerland. The event demands not only strategy and strength, but also testing the athletes' agility and balance. It adds another exciting layer of challenge by also serving as an elimination-style race with an in-the-water start and run-on-land finish. In each heat, 10 athletes race together with the final championship heat pitting the best 8 women and best 8 men together. For its uniqueness as an open water source, for its physical challenges that test myriad physical capabilities, and for its elimination-format preliminary races and final championship competition, the SwimCross is a worthy nominee for the 2015 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.

12. SwimEars® by Hans Henrik Heming (Denmark)
Hans Henrik Heming, founder of the Danish Open Water Swimming Association and CPH Swim in Copenhagen, Denmark, took a basic problem of open water swimming and did something about it. Utilizing financing from an innovative Kickstarter campaign, Henrick took a simple product like earplugs and made them better. He envisioned, designed, produced and marketed a means to protect against ear inflammation and dizziness without affecting hearing and balance. For its cool packaging and even cooler design with a leash, for its ability to let sound in but keep water out, and for inspiring 1,680 financial backers to finance his vision for a new kind of ear plugs, Hans Henrick's SwimEars® is a worthy nominee for the 2015 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.

13. Swimmit by Ivan Peralta (Spain)
Swimmit is a new cool convenient app, created by Ivan Peralta, that helps swimmers and triathletes or anyone who enjoy the open water to create and join meetups, create new training courses, discover expedition routes, connect with other swimmers, and offer a training log. With the Swimmit app on their ever-present mobile devices, swimmers can discover the best swimming routes near them, make friends with other swimmers, create personalized tracks with the track editor, and register their training sets and discover their performance trends. For its practicality to share and shed new information about open water swims, for its convenience in helping swimmers meet other like-minded athletes, and for its ease-of-use and design elegance, Swimmit is a worthy nominee for the 2015 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.

14. SwimTrack by Evan Morrison (U.S.A.)
SwimTrack is a powerful, easy-to-use and simple-to-understand app that enables people all over the world to following currently-ongoing marathon swims through a web browser in near real-time. SwimTrack brings the global community literally and figuratively closer to marathon and channel swimmers who are plying the waves around the globe. SwimTrack provides significantly better mapping, comprehensive track analytics, and a much more visually dynamic user experience compared to typical GPS trackers. SwimTrack was developed by Evan Morrison and is offered by the Marathon Swimmers Federation. The free app can be embedded for/by swimmers and organizations that wish to use SwimTrack on their own websites. For tying the global open water swimming community closer together, for utilizing various technologies under one interface, and for bringing more excitement and accurate information about swimmers beyond the shoreline without a fee, SwimTrack is a worthy nominee for the World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.

15. WEST (Water World Swimming Therapy) (Israel)
Ori Sela and his 140 coaches and aqua-therapists at WEST, Water World Swimming Therapy, have created on online and practical training system to help people with shoulder pain but who want to continue swimming in both the pool and open water. With a practical solution and a belief in the strength that water can give, WEST provides relief daily for people of all ages, some of which are recovering from cerebrovascular accidents (strokes) or who suffer from lower back or neck pain. For offering courses that teach swimmers how to train with an injury and work on their legs, dolphin kick, and core muscles, for a swimming technique that helps heals people who suffer from lower back pain, and for expanding an effective hydrotherapy offering around the world, WEST is a worthy nominee for the 2015 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.

16. World Ice Swimming Championships (Russia)
In the fast-growing niche in the open water swimming world, competition got really kick-started with the inaugural World Ice Swimming Championships where relays and the 1 km swim were the highlights of the competition with athletes like Christof Wandratsch of Germany and Renata Novakova of Czech Republic. Safety, preparation, pomp and circumstance were the themes of the day while the athletic performances were off the charts. With the air temperature around Lake Semenovskoe in Murmansk at -7°C and the water temperature at 0.8°C, the biggest city in the world inside the Arctic Circle, showcased history's greatest ice swimming competition at the World Ice Swimming Championships in Murmansk. For providing a venue and circumstances for mind-boggling performance literally in the ice, for a level of pomp and circumstance worthy of a world championship event in front of a global audience, and for setting the stage for an entire generation of international ice swimming exploits, the World Ice Swimming Championships in Murmansk is a worthy nominee for the 2015 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.

To vote for the WOWSA Awards, visit here. Voting continues until December 31st 2015.

The previous winners of the World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year Award include the following:

* 2012 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year: SWIM Channel, produced by Patrick Winkler of Brazil
* 2013 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year: International Ice Swimming Association, founded by Ram Barkai of South Africa
* 2014 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year: Step Out Of The Ordinary Blue Letter Campaign by Pádraig Mallon and Camlough Lake Water Festival (Ireland)

Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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