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Monday, April 2, 2018

The Poseidon Adventure With Winner Chris Guesdon

Christopher Guesdon with International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame inductee Melissa Cunningham-Roberts [left] and Ivonne Schmid of the International Swimming Hall of Fame [right].

Courtesy of Christopher Guesdon, 2018 International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame induction ceremony, Windsor, UK.

Christopher Guesdon, former chairman of the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame, has done nearly everything in the sport.

Over the course of six decades, he has been a swimmer himself, a national team coach and manager at international competitions and ultramarathon relays, a promoter and administrator, on rules and organization committees. He addressed the assembled luminaries at the recent International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame induction ceremonies in Windsor, England where he was honored with the 2018 Poseidon Award.

"I stand before you not as an individual, but as a proud representative of the marathon swimming volunteers around the world.

The Poseidon award is a global award. It is true to my heart. It reaches and extends beyond regional or local by endorsing the change we can make across the wide world. My thank you goes to the International Swimming Hall of Fame for the Poseidon award.

I am deeply honoured. I also thank the selection panel and my nominators.

Tonight, I wish to make the announcement that my patrons, Swimming Australia, are supporting me personally. I thank them sincerely for their belief in me and for endorsing the sport.

I do not consider myself primarily as a swimmer. I prefer to think of myself as an administrator who could swim a bit. Outside of volunteering in swimming, I have been foremost a businessman with my own national events organisation and my nationally accredited marketing and advertising agency.

I was a footballer, swimmer and water polo player. I loved the life of surf and sun. So, I became a surf-lifesaver. It filled my life. With my peers, the skill of catching the best wave to win a race, saving a life and identifying a rip, the ocean, was our life. This led me into marathons.

These stretched the earth from near the Arctic Circle to the Great Southern Ocean and tropics between.

This award is for all those unsung heroes in pockets around the globe. The hidden world where unheralded marathons may be taking place. Where, as volunteers we can offer comprehensive sport development clinics for their benefit. This is the world of marathon swimming we must continue to find, embrace and develop.

My belief is that for success it is vital to have in place thoroughly analysed strategy rather than applying tactics as you go. As 17-year-olds in 1961...I found a renowned sportswoman, a tennis player named Susanne. We embarked as a duo on a life involved in marathon swimming that has spanned 56 years.

[addressing his wife] Sue, I thank you for your expertise in every aspect of the sport given over all those years to the swimmers of the world.

No man is an island. All we achieve is because we have been part of a team and by that, I mean the people around us. I thank all those people from every aspect of my career. Tonight, I can name but a few.

First and Foremost to Dick Campion, Olympian. My confidante, my life-friend, my coach. We travelled the marathon road from the beginning with a united passion and the same goal.

To the myriad of fellow enthusiasts who over all those years played their part in the dream of an Olympic swimming marathon. Our vision was to plan, organise, stage and execute. Indeed, we got this done.

I acknowledge all the swimmers who swam with me or swam against me. And to all those who swam solos under my guidance and raced under my management. Champions all.

I am indebted to my skilled coaches, crews and captains Australia and worldwide from all the events I have organised.

I salute the enthusiasts with whom I have worked in the many unheralded marathon countries. Like bringing the marathon to developing nations such as early primitive times in Papua New Guinea where back then, as pioneers we lived and worked, and our first child was born, long before independence came in the early 1970's.

I have great memories of Ray and Audrey Scott, icons of the Channel Swimming Association who from 1969, time and again hosted Sue and I playing croquet and sharing knowledge.

Dennis Matuch of the World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation, a big man with a big presence. Dennis was a visionary who collaborated with us.

General Ahmed Zorkani of Egypt of the International Long Distance Swimming Federation who embraced me, my swimmers and Australia.

Pierre-Luigi Pellegrini, my Italian counterpart and a great strategist. Our combined strategies prepared our two nations to take on the world. It worked.

To Champion Leader Stéphane Lecat. Congratulations on the Irving Davids-Captain Roger Wheeler Memorial Award.

And congratulations to the swimmers in the outstanding Class of 2018.

Finally, I say a very special thank you to my table of family and friends who have travelled a long, long way to support me. I am pleased to have present at the ceremony, two of my national team members and illustrious IMSHOF Honourees themselves, Melissa Cunningham-Roberts and Tamara Bruce

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