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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:

Friday, October 30, 2015

2015 World Open Water Swimming Performance Of The Year Nominees

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

The World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year is an WOWSA Award that is meant to honor the efforts and swims that

(1) best embody the spirit of open water swimming,
(2) are representative of the sense of adventure, tenacity and perseverance that open water swimmers are known for, and
(3) have demonstrated the most impressive open water swimming performance of the year.

The individuals who are nominated for the 2015 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year are an heroic and impressive group of individuals with exceptional exploits, histories and lifestyles. With the growing number of superhuman ice swims, stage swims, channel crossings, open water races, and marathon events held around the world, nominations are becoming increasingly difficult to decide and limit to a reasonable number.

To vote on the following nominees, visit the WOWSA Awards here.

Voting continues until December 31st 2015.

1. Andreas Fath (Germany) Swim for Science
2. Andrea Fazio (Italy) Like Father, Like Son
3. Christian Reichert (Germany) FINA World Cup Champion
4. Dan Projansky (U.S.A.) Butterflying Marathoner
5. Jim Clifford (U.S.A.) Oldest Triple Crowner
6. Fast and Frozen by Henri Kaarma (Estonia), Ryan Stramrood (South Africa), Anna Carin-Nordin (Sweden), Patrick Corcoran (Ireland), Zdeněk Thalmika (Czech Republic), Elina Makïnen (Finland) Two-way North Channel Relay
7. Ganga Avahan by Paramvir Singh, Gullupilli Narahari, Saripilli Srihari (India) Stage Swimmers
8. Jordan Wilimovsky (U.S.A.) Olympian & World Champion
9. Kelly Gneiting (U.S.A.) Sumo Swimmer
10. Kimberley Chambers (New Zealand) Farallon Freestyler
11. Matthew Moseley (U.S.A.) Trifecta Lake-Ocean-River Swimmer
12. Mike Arbuthnot (South Africa) Midmar Mile Founder
13. Nejib Belhedi (Tunisia) Camel Swim
14. Night Train Swimmers by Grace van der Byl, Dave Holscher, Kimberley Chambers, Adam Eilath, Ashley Horne, Vito Bialla (U.S.A./New Zealand) NT300 Relay
15. Oceans Seven Relay by Rick Gaenzle, Chris Kraus, Brian Ross (U.S.A.) Triumphant Trio
16. Susan Simmons (Canada) Swimming with Multiple Sclerosis
17. Swim The Eden Expedition by Calum Hudson, Jack Hudson, Robbie Hudson (Great Britain) Brotherly Wild Swim
18. Team Nadadores Locos by Amy Appelhans Gubser, Kirk McKinney, Les Mangold, John Sims, Jeff Everett, Andrew McLaughlin (U.S.A.) Two-way Farallon Islands Relay
19. The Deep Enders by Jim McConica, Tom Ball, John Chung, Zach Jirkovsky, Tamie Stewart, Stacey Warmuth (U.S.A.) San Nicholas Channelers
20. The Old Men And The Sea Relay by Don Baker, Dr. Bill Spore, Dave Radcliffe, Graham Johnston, Bob Best, Bob Beach, Norm Stupfel (U.S.A.) Catalina Cruisers
21. Theodore Yach (South Africa) Robben Island Swimmer
22. Trent Theroux (U.S.A.) Comeback Circumnavigation
23. Wendy Trehiou (Jersey) Saint Malo to Jersey

1. Andreas Fath (Germany) Swim for Science (Rheines Wasser)
Professor Dr. Andreas Fath took 25 stages and 28 days to swim 1,231 km (765 miles) in a stage swim along the length of the Rhine River from Lake Toma in the Graubünden Alps of Switzerland to the North Sea estuary in Hook of the Netherlands. The Swimming Professor from Furtwangen University dealt with heavy rains, strong currents and changing weather conditions while conducting research and testing with an European team of scientific collaborators. The Professor not only swam the mighty Rhine, but he also stayed true to his calling as a teaching professor, research scientist and accomplished inventor. The Professor of Physical and Analytical Chemistry who specializes in Ecological Engineering tested the micro-plastics pollution in the Rhine in a search for removing these substances with a unique chip and membrane attached to his leg. For his Rheines Wasser (Swim for Science) that combined athletics, navigation, logistics and science, for leading a scientific and logistics team from across Europe, and for testing the water for industrial chemicals, hormones, antidepressants, sweeteners, antibiotics, painkillers, drugs, pathogens and micro-plastics, Professor Dr. Andreas Fath's Rheines Wasser is a worthy nominee for the 2015 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.

2. Andrea Fazio (Italy) Like Father, Like Son
Andrea Fazio has followed along the wake of his father Nino Fazio. The 15-year-old Andrea set a new record for a crossing of the Strait of Messina (Stretto di Messina), a standard previously thought to be unbeatable. With his swim of 30 minutes 6 seconds from Sicily to mainland Italy, a father and the son now simultaneously hold the record in a channel for both the single and double crossings. For his his challenge against an unassailable record, for learning about the open water from a paternal teacher, and for his technically beautiful stroke, Andrea Fazio's Strait of Messina record swim is a worthy nominee for the 2015 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.

3. Christian Reichert (Germany) FINA World Cup Champion
Christian Reichert won the most exciting FINA/HOSA 10K Marathon Swimming World Cup series in history. His battle with Allan Do Carmo started out in his favor, but he had to hold off the 2-time Brazilian Olympian with 2 top finishes in Canada and China and culminated his season with a victory in Hong Kong 10 km marathon swim on the last stroke. For the first time in his career, he stood on top of the series podium, a credit to his willingness to fly everywhere and anywhere to compete. It was a fitting cumulation to a long season in which he placed 7th in Viedma (Argentina), 3rd in Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirate), 10th in Cozumel (Mexico), 5th in Balatonfured (Hungary), 2nd in Setúbal Bay (Portugal), 4th in Lac-Mégantic (Canada), and 1st in Hong Kong in addition to competing in Kazan (Russia) at the FINA World Championships where he won gold in the 5 km team pursuit race. For his first career World Cup series title, for his consistent high-level performance around the world, and for his dramatic last-stroke, last-second victory on the final race of the FINA World Cup, Christian Reichert's World Cup series victory is a worthy nominee for the 2015 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.

4. Dan Projansky (U.S.A.) Butterflying Marathoner
Dan Projansky has been flying for much of his adult life. His latest butterfly effort was a 36-mile (57.9 km) 15 hour 22 minute down the Red River between North Dakota and Minnesota. The mild-mannered banker from Chicago trains butterfly in a pool just like his races in the open water - straight, non-stop, uninterrupted double-arm pull with a steady dolphin kick. For his freshwater butterfly effort in muddied waters, for his 15+ hours of non-stop butterfly, and for his love of the toughest, roughest stroke on the planet, Dan Projansky's END-WET swim is a worthy nominee for the 2015 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.

5. Jim Clifford (U.S.A.) Oldest Triple Crowner
Jim Clifford became the oldest person to complete the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming with a fast 10 hour 3 minute crossing of the English Channel, the fastest time in history for the swimmers over the age of 50, performed less than 2 months short of his 64th birthday. Clifford started his journey to the Triple Crown at the age of 62, an inspirational role model for those on the second half of their lives. For his level of enthusiasm for endurance events in his sixth decade of life, for his extremely fast English Channel swim, and for his gentle spirit that exudes appreciation and gratitude to everyone involved in his journey, Jim Clifford's English Channel swim is a worthy nominee for the 2015 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.

6. Fast and Frozen by Henri Kaarma (Estonia), Ryan Stramrood (South Africa), Anna Carin-Nordin (Sweden), Patrick Corcoran (Ireland), Zdeněk Thalmika (Czech Republic), Elina Makïnen (International) Two-way North Channel Relay
Fast and Frozen lived up to its name in its 2-way North Channel relay. The team of formidable ice swimmers completed an unprecedented double-crossing journey across the North Channel from Ireland to Scotland to Ireland. Henri Kaarma (Estonia), Ryan Stramrood (South Africa), Anna Carin-Nordin (Sweden), Patrick Corcoran (Ireland), Zdeněk Thalmika (Czech Republic), and Elina Makïnen (Finland) left the shores of Northern Ireland escorted by Pádraig Mallon of Infinity Channel Swimming. Inspired by the previous 2-way attempts by Kevin Murphy and Alison Streeter MBE, the team took 29 hours 57 minutes to pioneer a 2-way crossing escorted (appropriately enough) by Aquaholics II. For their 15 hours 46 minutes through Lion’s Mane jellyfish from Ireland to Scotland, for their 14 hour 13 minute return leg., and for their belief in themselves and their dream, Fast and Frozen's North Channel relay is a worthy nominee for the 2015 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.

7. Ganga Avahan by Paramvir Singh, Gullupilli Narahari, Saripilli Srihari (India) Stage Swimmers
Wing Commander Paramvir Singh, Sergeant Gullupilli Narahari and Sergeant Saripilli Srihari plan to take 35 days to swim 2,800 km (1,740 miles) down the river Ganga from Devprayag to Gangasagar on a tandem swim expedition, called Ganga Avahan, where they will swim up to 12 hours per day. As they traverse 60 to 80 km each day during daylight hours, they will encounter long, violent rapids up to Grade V that will expose them to significant risk. The swim is dangerous where rescue is difficult, even for their Army, Navy and Air Force medical and support teams. For the courage to face gharials, snakes, quicksand, rocks, swift currents, and hyenas, for their willingness to promote Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Clean India Mission), and for their unprecedented tandem swim of 2,800 km through India, Ganga Avanhan is a worthy nominee for the 2015 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.

8. Jordan Wilimovsky (U.S.A.) Olympian & World Champion
Jordan Wilimovsky is as unlikely a world champion as he is a likely one. With a technically and strategically brilliant performance at the FINA World Championships, he won the 10 km marathon swim and become the first male swimmer to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. A man of slender build, he competes against athletes much larger and seemingly stronger than himself. But his quiet resolve, his voracious hunger for hard work, his relentless focus on technique, and his tremendous leg strength have helped him develop into the Olympic pre-race favorite in the 10 km marathon swim. For his outstanding technical skills, for his off-the-charts navigational IQ, and for his gradual improvement to become a world champion and Olympic gold medal favorite, Jordan Wilimovsky's dominating performance to win the world title in the 10 km marathon swim in Kazan, Russia is a worthy nominee for the 2015 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.

9. Kelly Gneiting (U.S.A.) Sumo Swimmer
Kelly Gneiting certainly pulled the most amount of any open water swim this year during his 22-mile (35.4 km) solo swim across Navajo Lake from New Mexico to Colorado in 22 hours 46 minutes. The 200 kg (440 lbs.) sumo wrestler now has done both a marathon run and a marathon swim. He trained over 200 hours swimming over 200 miles to prepare his oversized body to tackle his latest challenge despite having bronchitis and experiencing searing pain from an injured ankle. For gutting out the last 320 meters over an agonizing 3 hours, for training months on end for a goal seemingly out of his wheelhouse, and for being the heaviest person to complete an ultra-marathon swim, Kelly Gneiting's Navajo Lake swim is a worthy nominee for the 2015 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.

10. Kimberley Chambers (New Zealand) Farallon Freestyler
Kimberley Chambers added another feat to her impressive, but unlikely, swimming resume when she became the first woman to swim from the Farallon Islands to the Golden Gate Bridge. The 38-year-old former ballerina's 30-mile tenacious solo swim took an agonizing 17 hours 12 minutes that ended with Chambers in the hospital. For her drive to overcome severe dehydration and push her body to the deep abyss of discomfort and pain, for being the first women to tackle arguably the world's most difficult channels, and for her unfailing courage despite the presence of the Great White Sharks, Kimberley Chambers' Farallon Islands swim is a worthy nominee for the 2015 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.

11. Matthew Moseley (U.S.A.) Trifecta Lake-Ocean-River Swimmer
Matthew Moseley completed a unique trifecta of unprecedented marathon swims by finishing 3 swims in a lake, ocean and river. He planned and completed the first swimming descent of the Colorado River, swimming a tough 76.4 km (47.5-mile) through Canyonlands over 13 hours 56 minutes. It was the last of his solo series that included a 38 km (24-mile) inter-island swim in Puerto Rico in 12 hours 1 minute 55 seconds, called Cruce y Nado por los Arrecifes de Coral, and his 40.2 km (25-mile) swim across Lake Pontchartrain in 14 hours 55 minutes. For his harrowing river marathon, for his unique marketing of the sport through music and movies, for this constant theme of helping improve the marine environment, Matthe Moseley's trifecta marathon swim series is a worthy nominee for the 2015 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.

12. Mike Arbuthnot (South Africa) Midmar Mile Founder
Mike Arbuthnot has gone 42 for 42. The 82-year-old completed his 42nd Midmar Mile out of the 42 editions ever held. That kind of consistency and dedication is unparalleled in the open water swimming world. He has done a total of over 80 swims across the Midmar Dam in South Africa, and keeps training and maintaining his healthy lifestyle. For his original vision in creating the Midmar Mile, for this decades-long commitment to support the event in every and any means possible, and for his continued wellness that serves as an inspiration to those in the younger generations, Mike Arbuthnot's 42nd consecutive Midmar Mile swim is a worthy nominee for the 2015 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.

13. Nejib Belhedi (Tunisia) Camel Swim
Nejib Belhedi has been turning heads and changing mindsets with this World Iron Swim tour, but with his 4 km swim in Mahdia, he made people stop in their tracks. The English Channel swimmer completed a number of World Iron Swims throughout his native Tunisia where he pulled children, adults and camels along in a boat during highly publicized swims of peace in the turbulent world around his homeland. For his creativity of selecting a 1.5-ton camel to pull along to highlight his swims of peace, for his relentless promotion of the joy, challenge and healthfulness of open water swimming for people of all ages, and for his constantly cheerful attitude that rubs off positively on children and adults, Nejib Belhedi’s Camel Swim is a worthy nominee for the 2015 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.

14. Night Train Swimmers by Grace van der Byl, Dave Holscher, Kimberley Chambers, Adam Eilath, Ashley Horne, Vito Bialla (International) NT300 Relay
The Night Train Swimmers continue to up the bar for six-person relays and charitable giving. Every year they do something new and inspirational. This year's NT300 relay accomplished their goal of swimming 300 non-stop miles in San Francisco Bay. They swam a total of 500.5 km (311 miles) from Monday to Friday, a tough work week where they raised enough money to help gunshot victim Arthur Renowitzky receive expensive cutting-edge technology to help him walk again. Grace van der Byl, Dave Holscher, Kimberley Chambers, Adam Eilath, Ashley Horne, and Vito Bialla survived and thrived on very little sleep, a lot of hard work, and much inspiration throughout 5 days and nights in the chilly San Francisco Bay. For their charitable effort on behalf of a young man, for their record-setting distance swims, and for their efforts to raise as much money as possible for others in need, the Night Train Swimmers is a worthy nominee for the 2015 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.

15. Oceans Seven Relay by Rick Gaenzle, Chris Kraus and Brian Ross (U.S.A.) Triumphant Trio
Rick Gaenzle, Chris Kraus and Brian Ross achieved a dream with a unique twist. Based on their strong friendship and goal of doing something unique, the trio not only completed their 3-man relay crossing of the Cook Strait, but also became the first relay team in history to complete the Oceans Seven with that 13 hour 51 minute crossing in New Zealand. For their creativity in achieving the first relay Oceans Seven, for their crossing of the North Channel, Molokai Channel, Catalina Channel, English Channel, Strait of Gibraltar and Tsugaru Channel, and for their joyous perspective while facing cold and rough waters, the Oceans Seven Relay of Rick Gaenzle, Chris Kraus and Brian Ross is a worthy nominee for the 2015 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.

16. Susan Simmons (Canada) Swimming with Multiple Sclerosis
Susan Simmons had a huge goal: to swim for the longest known distance in a freshwater setting. Her chosen venue was Canada's Cowichan Lake. Swimming alongside Alex Cape for the third straight year, Simmons has dealing with an obstacle few swimmers face: multiple sclerosis. She was able to overcome MS to organize this swim, but she had to walk on shore at 44 km with nausea after 21 hours 18 minutes of struggle. She was disappointed for sure, but she is also undaunted. For her unwavering support of her swim buddy who continued to swim to 94 km, for her inspirational efforts as an MS sufferer, and for her continued drive to get back in the water and ultimately achieve her goal, Susan Simmons’ 105 km swim attempt is a worthy nominee for the 2015 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.

17. Swim The Eden Expedition by Calum Hudson, Jack Hudson, Robbie Hudson (Great Britain) Brotherly Wild Swim
25-year-old Calum Hudson, 23-year-old Jack Hudson, and 28-year-old Robbie Hudson, labeled the Wild Swimming Brothers, completed their 3-man GPS-tracked, 9-day 145 km (90-mile) Swim The Eden Expedition along Cumbria's River Eden in England from Hell Gill Beck in North Yorkshire to the Solway Firth where the river flows out into the Irish Sea. They camped out along the river and carried along their provisions and gear, living a primal wild swim that captured the attention of both open water swimmers and not, inspiring many others to enjoy and protect the natural world. For their year-long preparation that included a 25-minute swim in Gulf of Corryvreckan, the world's third largest whirlpool, for their desire to rekindle memories of their childhood and brotherhood growing up along the River Eden, and for their unprecedented brotherly wild swim, the Hudson Brothers' Swim The Eden Expedition is a worthy nominee for the 2015 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.

18. Team Nadadores Locos by Amy Appelhans Gubser, Kirk McKinney, Les Mangold, John Sims, Jeff Everett, Andrew McLaughlin (U.S.A.) Two-way Farallon Islands Relay
Team Nadadores Locos, a San Francisco-based 6-person relay, swam from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Farallon Islands and back, a total of 59.4 miles in 34 hours 54 minutes. Under the escort of Captains Brent McLain and Marino Cacciotti, Amy Appelhans Gubser, Kirk McKinney, Les Mangold, John Sims, Jeff Everett, and Andrew McLaughlin completed the first two-way crossing of the Farallon Islands. For their plotting and planning a doable course to and from the Farallon Islands, for their deep-seated desire to keep alive their dream after an initial failure, and for their unprecedented adventure, Team Nadadores Locos' two-way Farallon Islands crossing is a worthy nominee for the 2015 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.

19. The Deep Enders by Jim McConica, Tom Ball, John Chung, Zach Jirkovsky, Tamie Stewart, Stacey Warmuth (U.S.A.) San Nicholas Channelers
Far, far offshore from the California coast, an uninhibited island made famous by the 1960 novel Island of the Blue Dolphin rests. Despite the plethora of ocean swimmers around the Pacific Rim, no one had yet attempted to swim the 112.8 km (70.1 miles) between San Nicholas Island and the California mainland. But The Deep Enders, a passionately serious group of masters swimmers in Ventura, took on the challenge. The sextet (64-year-old Jim McConica, 55-year-old Tom Ball, 45-year-old John Chung, 34-year-old Zach Jirkovsky, 42-year-old Tamie Stewart, and 59-year-old Stacey Warmuth), escorted by Greg Elliot, battled rough conditions and marine life to complete the unprecedented relay in 33 hours 37 minutes. For their long swim back from over 100 km out to sea, for their triumphant effort and logistics to get the swim accomplished, and for their ongoing pioneering spirit that spews enjoyment when they hit the ocean, The Deep Enders’ San Nicholas Crossing is a worthy nominee for the 2015 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.

20. The Old Men and The Sea Relay by Don Baker, Bill Spore, Dave Radcliffe, Graham Johnston, Bob Best, Bob Beach, Norm Stupfel (U.S.A.) Catalina Cruisers
The Old Men and The Sea Relay literally lived up to their name. With 84-year-old Don Baker, 80-year-old Dr. Bill Spore, 81-year-old Dave Radcliffe, 84-year-old Graham Johnston, 82-year-old Bob Best, 85-year-old Bob Beach, and 82-year-old Norm Stupfel, the octogenarian sextet demonstrated an impressive level of confidence, calm and capabilities as veteran swimmers of the ocean. The men completed a 12 hour 15 minute crossing of the Catalina Channel that deservedly garnered national media attention. For simply and spectacularly going about their business in the Pacific Ocean, for their training for and execution of a channel relay, and for their humble nature after receiving public acclaim, The Old Men and The Sea Relay is a worthy nominee for the 2015 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.

21. Theodore Yach (South Africa) Robben Island Swimmer
The Robben Island swim is a destination event, enjoyed by thousands who come from around the world to swim 7 km from the famed island prison to the beautiful shores of Cape Town, South Africa. But there is one swimmer who stands out. Mile after mile, year after year, decade after decade without fail, Theodore Yach has looked across the cold waters from Robben Island to his beautiful Cape Town and put his head down. 94 times the 55-year-old has successfully made the Robben Island crossing, encountering everything from tricky tides to threatening sharks. Along the way, he has down many other challenging swims for charitable purposes, but it is Robben Island that always calls him back to the sea. For his charitable works and campaigns centered around Robben Island, for his lifelong dedication as the King of Robben Island, and for his sense of adventure to keep pushing himself as he ages, Theodore Yach's Robben Island Swims is a worthy nominee for the 2015 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.

22. Trent Theroux (U.S.A.) Comeback Circumnavigation
Trent Theroux completed a 16 hour 20 minute 41.5-mile circumnavigation swim around Aquidneck Island in Rhode Island's Narragansett Bay. His charity swim, called Back to Newport, benefits RISE Above Paralysis, was a deeply personal cause. After being was run over by a motorboat where the propellers severed all the major muscles in his back and carved out five pieces of his spine, Theroux was paralyzed. He was down and out. But Theroux fought all the back and swam to raise money for those who are not fortunate enough to stand up from the hospital bed. For his never-ending spirit, for his courage to tackle an unprecedented swim, and for his charitable giving to those who face similar problems, Trent Theroux's Back to Newport swim is a worthy nominee for the 2015 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.

23. Wendy Trehiou (Jersey) Saint Malo to Jersey
Wendy Trehiou pioneered a tough swim from Saint Malo to Jersey in the English Channel. Her 57.4 km (36-mile) swim pushed all her button for 24 hours 7 minutes as she faced a strong head wind and choppy sea conditions. But the veteran from Jersey just kept on putting one arm in front of the other and grit her teeth when she was stung by jellyfish. The 46-year-old breast cancer survivor knows how to deal with setbacks and pain, but does so much a smile and appreciation for all those around her. For her dramatic comeback from fighting cancer with a pioneering swim, for her second 24-hour Club swim of her career, and for her constant spirit of adventure despite tough swimming conditions, Wendy Trehiou’s Saint Malo to France crossing is a worthy nominee for the 2015 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.

To vote for the WOWSA Awards, visit here.

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

* 2009 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year: Andrew Smilley of the Cayman Islands
* 2010 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year: Ventura Deep Six of the USA
* 2011 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year: Nejib Belhedi of Tunisia
* 2012 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year: Juan Ignacio Martínez Fernández-Villamil of Spain
* 2013 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year: Bering Strait Swim, an international relay with 121 participants (swimmers + officials + crew)
* 2014 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year: Diomede Islands Swim by Alexandr Brylin and Grigorii Prokopchuk of Russia

Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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