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2016 WOWSA AWARD WINNERS
2016 WOWSA Man of the Year – Nejib Belhedi
2016 WOWSA Woman of the Year – Jaimie Monahan
2016 WOWSA Performance of the Year – Sarah Thomas’ Lake Powell Swim
2016 WOWSA Offering of the Year – Samsung Bosphorus Cross Continental Swim
Wednesday, December 21, 2016
Martin Cullen, Helping Others, Growing The Sport In Ireland
My friend and mentor Martin Cullen passed away this week. What a terrible loss. I placed one phone call in 2004 looking to book a place on Martin's 8-mile sea swim...and it led to twelve great years of marathon swimming and contributing to the sport.
Ireland had a successful and proud marathon past when Martin took the baton of leadership. He kick started much of the marathon craze that we enjoy today in Ireland. I like to think that he passed that baton to me a few years ago - and that he enjoy seeing it continue to grow.
We will miss you. The picture shows Martin...in the center "far back" with his growing group of English Channel soloers at a 2011 party. Below are the words of a presentation from nearly ten years ago...
The Munster swimmers in the Irish Long Distance Swimming Association would like to pay special tribute to Martin Cullen at this ILDSA 40th Anniversary Dinner.
In the last few years, there has been a huge growth in the interest and participation of open water swimming generally in Ireland and especially in Munster. We believe that Martin is one of the individuals who contributed directly to our recent growth.
He encouraged inclusion and hence opened the sport, managed two annual key events and put an unbelievable number of people in the English Channel which garnered more positive press than the rest of Irish swimming combined.
Let me explain each of these:
Encouraged inclusion and hence opened the sport: Martin welcomed swimmers from outside the strict confines of Swim Ireland clubs including those in wetsuits. We took his lead and participation in Munster swims has increased by a factor of 5. These new swimmers are also the most fun to watch as they set new personal distance records and draw large groups of cheering family and friends.
Managed two annual key events: Inisbofin and Killary are Martin’s creation and annual burden. He secured insurance from charities, recruited swimmers, secured safety boats and hosted fantastic proper after-swim dinners. In Munster, we saved the 2005 Lee Swim at the last minute by taking his lead and securing insurance from the Lions Club. Martin then touched and motivated a new group of Munster open water organisers who have given the original team of Joe Donnelly, Steven Black and Terry Fleming some relief. This has led to an explosion of new events. We had over 200 local open water swims on our schedule in 2006 up from about 5 in 2002.
Put an unbelievable number of people in the English Channel: Martin organised 18 swimmers from Ireland in 3 over-and-back relays in 2004. These included two previous Channel soloists and two who would use the relay as a springboard to 2006 solo success. Martin inspired another 30 relayers in 2005 and along the way inspired three Cork Channel soloists. 2006 was the year of the Irish in the English Channel: 30 relayers and 6 soloists. All but one of the soloists was a direct result of a Martin Cullen action. In addition to organising, Martin swam in the relays both years. The follow on in 2006 was another Cork English Channel soloer and a 3-person one-way relay – the manager having learned as a swimmer on the 2005 relay! The follow on in 2007 is a confirmed solo aspirant and a 4 person relay – deposit sent and soon an under-age relay.
Garnered more positive press than the rest of Irish swimming COMBINED: Look back at the past few years of press coverage of Irish Swimming. The negative coaching scandal and CEO controversy dominated the news until the English Channel swimming caught the public’s imagination. This had lead to major TV, radio, newspaper and magazine coverage – again mostly around the group that Martin touched and motivated.
And believe me - the Spike Island swim and Alcatraz trip were the direct result of the buzz caused by the 2005 channel excitement.
Martin was the leader, teacher and motivator.
I speak for all those in Munster who you touched personally and those new open water swimmers who enjoy the results of your contribution. You gave our sport a positive push when it needed it most and you leave in Munster better long distance swimmers, new events, a receptive press and perhaps most importantly a new group of organisers with new energy.
I am proud to be one of these better long distance swimmers and new organisers.
Another eulogy by Fergal Somerville about Martin Cullen is here.
It begins, "So sad to hear today of the passing of a giant of Open Water Swimming. Martin Cullen was a friend, mentor, trainer, confidant and a bit of a rogue. He took swimmers under his wing and helped them to reach their dreams. I am one of those swimmers and I owe so much of what I have achieved in the sport to Martin. His impact on the sport has been immense. He organised, he assisted, he developed, he encouraged, he commiserated and then pushed you on to try harder..."
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Open Water Swimming Magazine
Open Water Swimming MagazineThe Open Water Swimming Magazine is the monthly magazine entirely focused on open water swimming heroes and heroines of every age, ability, and background. Published by the World Open Water Swimming Association, the Open Water Swimming Magazine is a free benefit to WOWSA members.
WOWSA Member Benefits include 12 issues of the Open Water Swimming Magazine, the annual 276-page Open Water Swimming Almanac, a free listing in Sponsor My Swim, outstanding product discounts from FINIS, an entry in Openwaterpedia and more...
The Other Shore
The Other Shore follows world record holder and legendary swimmer Diana Nyad as she comes out of a thirty-year retirement to re-attempt an elusive dream: swimming 103 miles non-stop from Cuba to Florida without the use of a shark cage. Her past and present collide in her obsession with a feat that nobody has ever accomplished. At the edge of The Devil’s Triangle, tropical storms, sharks, venomous jellyfish, and one of the strongest ocean currents in the world, all prove to be life-threatening realities. Timothy Wheeler’s documentary brings Diana Nyad’s extraordinary adventure to life as Diana sets out to prove that will and determination are all you need to make the unimaginable possible.
2014 Open Water Swimming Almanac
An Almanac for Open Water SwimmingAn almanac is essentially a body of knowledge which is so complete that it enables people in different fields to make predictions about the future of their respective industries.
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