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Thursday, November 1, 2018

2018 World Open Water Swimming Performance Of The Year Nominees



Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

The WOWSA Awards are an annual selection of outstanding individuals and offerings in the following categories:

* World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year
* World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year
* World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year
* World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.

The WOWSA Awards winners are selected by the public in an online poll where one vote is allowed by one computer/one person.

In 2017, Antonio Argüelles of Mexico was the Man of the Year, Jaimie Monahan of the USA was the Woman of the Year, Margarita 'Tita] Llorens Bagur of Spain won the Performance of the Year, and Sea Donkey, a film by James Harrison about Adrian Sarchet won the Offering of the Year. The four WOWSA Award winner will be honored at the Open Water Summit and WOWSA Awards at The Olympic Club in San Francisco, California on November 10th.

There were innumerable outstanding solo, tandem and relay achievements performed in the open water during 2018. "There were so many possible award winners and nominees in the World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year category that it is increasingly difficult to narrow the number of nominations to 15," explains Steven Munatones. "The nominees in the Performance of the Year category are truly an impressive and courageous group of individuals with exceptional exploits, histories and lifestyles."

The nominees come from all over the world. The WOWSA Awards are not necessarily for the best athletes, but are meant to honor the men and women 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 2017.

To vote for the 2018 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year via a global online poll, visit here to vote.

The nominees for the World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year, listed alphabetically, are as follows:

1. Catalina Channel Crossing (USA) by Hank Wise
2. Century Swim around Key West (USA) by Bill Welzien
3. Great British Swim (UK) by Ross Edgley
4. HK360Swim Around Hong Kong Island (Hong Kong) by Simon Holliday
5. Ice Kilometer (Netherlands) by Sven Elfferich
6. Double Ice Mile (Germany) by Hamza Bakircioglu
7. Kangsha River Swim (Bangladesh) by Kshitindra Chandra Baisya
8. Lake Zürich Two-Way Crossing (Switzerland) by Katrin Walter
9. Santa Barbara Channel Crossing (USA) by Jim McConica
10. Sfax to Djerba Marathon Swim (Tunisia) by Nejib Belhedi
11. Traversée Internationale du lac St-Jean (Canada) by Edoardo Stochino
12. Travessia do Leme ao Pontal (Brazil) by Glauco Luise de Oliveira Rangel
13. Triple Country Swim (Italy-Monaco-France) by Carina Bruwer
14. Tsugaru Channel Tandem Crossing (Japan) by Nora Toledano Cadena and Mariel Hawley Dávila
15. Two-way Santa Cruz Island Crossing (USA) by Ken Mignosa

1. Catalina Channel Crossing (USA) by Hank Wise
Hank Wise found his calling at the age of 45. The Long Beach, California native has always been drawn to the ocean and excelled in the pool until he graduated from Stanford University. While he surfed and dabbled in short ocean races in Southern California in his younger years, he had never even attempted a channel swim until relatively late in life. But he made up for lost time when he became the King of the Catalina Channel after his seventh career crossing of the Catalina Channel in October this year. After completing two Top 10 times (8 hours 7 minutes both in 2010 and 2015), he finished five additional crossings in all kinds of conditions: 8 hours 20 minutes in 2016, 10 hours 14 minutes and 10 hours 1 minute in 2017, and 7 hours 55 minutes in 2018. For taking up channel swimming at such an advanced age and becoming the King of the Catalina Channel, for being so passionate and deeply appreciative of his crew, pilots and volunteers on each crossing, for becoming one of the few to break 8 hours among the 450 successful Catalina Channel swimmers, for developing his channel swimming passion and sharing it with others, the record-setting Catalina Channel Crossing by Hank Wise of the USA is a worthy nominee for the 2018 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.

2. Century Swim (USA) by Bill Welzien
68-year-old Bill Welzien has been swimming all his life, but it was in 1991 when he started to complete 20.1 km circumnavigation swims around Key West, located at the very south of the state of Florida. Not only has he served as the race organizer of the Swim Around Key West since 2003 where he is responsible for hundreds of people doing the warm-water swim, but he also completed the longest Century Swim in history. On May 19th 2018, he completed 100 documented solo circumnavigations around Key West, averaging about 6 hours 15 minutes over the course. For his persistence and dedication to swimming around Key West both as an athlete and a race organizer, for still swimming steadily as he has completed 105 circumnavigations to date even as he approaches the age of 70, and for being an icon of one of the longest continuously running marathon swims in the world, the Century Swim< around Key West/a> by Bill Welzien of the USA is a worthy nominee for the 2018 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.

3. Great British Swim (UK) by Ross Edgley
Ross Edgley made an initial splash in the open water swimming world with his unique Strongman Swimming feats - swimming long distances pulling a 100 kg log - after establishing himself as a fitness and sports performance expert, celebrity and author. But it is his Great British Swim - an unprecedented 3,218 km assisted stage swim around Great Britain - that has entertained and educated the eyes of millions of non-swimmers around the world about the challenges, difficulties, logistics and operations surrounding the sport of open water swimming. His videos from his mother ship are informative and fun to watch; his explanations of what he experiences are interesting and insightful; descriptions of the conditions are comprehensive and inspiration. While the Great British Swim is a simple concept, the effort to complete the task has been a massive undertaking sponsored by Red Bull that has required teamwork with a large crew of professionals. For an audacious plan that has put him in the water for 130 consecutive days (to date), for his unique promotion of the sport, for pushing the boundaries of what is possible in the open water, the Great British Swim by Ross Edgley of the UK is a worthy nominee for the 2018 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.

4. HK360Swim Around Hong Kong Island (Hong Kong) by Simon Holliday
It took 41 years for someone to replicate the circumnavigation swim around Hong Kong by Australia Olympian and International Marathon Swimming Hall of Famer Linda McGill. Simon Holliday lowered her 1976 record by over 4 hours over the 42 km course around Hong Kong Island. With Shu Pu, HK360Swim Founder, Event Director and support paddler, and navigator Ross Vickers managing the logistics, working the currents and providing navigation, Holliday completed the swim clockwise in 12 hours 32 minutes. For generating significant local interest in open water swimming in Hong Kong, for leveraging his success to co-founding the Splash Foundation that sponsors and brings swimming programs to the underserved communities of Hong Kong, and for continuing to serve as an inspirational ambassador of marathon swimmers and non-swimmers alike in Asia, the HK360Swim Around Hong Kong Island by Simon Holliday is a worthy nominee for the 2018 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.

5. Ice Kilometer (Netherlands) by Sven Elfferich
17-year-old Sven Ellferich swam a fast 12 minute 31 second ice kilometer at the Dutch Ice Swimming Championships held in the Zwembad Waterdam Volendam pool in his native Netherlands. His 1000m swim in the 3.6°C water temperature in 3.0°C air was the second fastest ice kilometer in history; only the legendary Petar Stoychev has swum faster. For embracing the cold at such a young age showing tremendous upside for the future, for also winning the 3.9 km Killary Gaelforce Fjord Swim, the 1 km Obertraun Hallstättersee Ice Schwimming, the 1 km Lake Konstanz Eismann, and for setting a world junior record and the second fastest ice kilometer, the Ice Kilometer by Sven Elfferich of the Netherlands is a worthy nominee for the 2018 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.

6. Double Ice Mile (Germany) by Hamza Bakircioglu
271 people from 32 countries have swum a total of 403 individual Ice Miles that require the water temperature to be under 5°C. 46-year-old Turkish swimmer Hamza Bakircioglu has completed marathon swims (64 km Bodensee in 30 hours 45 minutes) and 4 Ice Kilometers and 2 Ice Miles during his career. But his last cold water swim was simply incredible as he swam a total of 2.14 miles (3.44 km) in a loop course in the fresh water of Sonthofersee in Sonthofen, Germany. The water temperature started at 3.9°C and rose to 4.5°C during his 1 hour 8 minute swim. For expanding his open water swimming repertoire to ice swimming, for swimming 3.44 km non-stop in water averaging 4.13°C, and for being Turkey’s most accomplished ice swimmer, the Double Ice Mile by Hamza Bakircioglu of Turkey is a worthy nominee for the 2018 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.

7. Kangsha River Swim (Bangladesh) by Kshitindra Chandra Baisya
Kshitindra Chandra Baisya once swam for 108 hours at the age of 24 and for 74 km at the age of 28. His swimming career took a lower priority over the next 4 decades. Last year, the 66-year-old completed a solo marathon swim 146 km down the Kangsha River in Bangladesh that took him 43 hours 25 minutes. His swim was massively impressive and profoundly simple, especially since he swam without goggles and well-equipped escort boats. But he one-upped himself in 2018 when he swam 185 km down the same slow-moving river from Vogai bridge in Nalitabari upazila of Sherpur to Madan upazila of Netrokona in Bangladesh that took him 60 hours 55 minutes. For coming back out of retirement and setting a record in his native land at the age of 67, for organizing a well-received, solo, non-stop motivational marathon swim observed by government officials and media representatives, for pushing the boundaries of what is possible in the open water at an advanced age, the Kangsha River Swim by Kshitindra Chandra Baisya of Bangladesh is a worthy nominee for the 2018 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.

8. Lake Zürich Two-Way Crossing (Switzerland) by Katrin Walter
Prafulla Nocker pioneered a two-way crossing of Lake Zürich in 1986, finishing in 28 hours from Zürich Bürkliplatz to Lido Rapperswil and back to Zürich Bürkliplatz. In 1997, Vedika Bolliger completed the second two-way swim in 29 hours from Zürich Lido Tiefenbrunnen to Lido Rapperswil and back. Then no other attempt was made until Katrin Walter completed a two-way course of the Sri Chinmoy Marathon-Schwimmen 26 km course from Rapperswil to Zürich and back to Rapperswil in an outstanding time of 17 hours 25 minutes this August. Drinking Maxim every 30 minutes in the 25°C water, the 40-year-old German swam the second half of her record-setting swim faster than the first: 8 hours 54 minutes in the first half compared to 8 hours 30 minutes in the second half. After completing all 193 km of the 8 Bridges Hudson River Swim over its 7 stages, Walter was well prepared for her record-setting swim. For strategically planning every part and all logistics of her swim, for wanting to push herself further and further than ever before, for properly documenting her marathon swim with the Marathon Swimmers Federation Documented Swims program, the Lake Zürich Two-Way Crossing by Katrin Walter of Germany is a worthy nominee for the 2018 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.

9. Santa Barbara Channel Crossing (USA) by Jim McConica
Jim McConica has always been blazing fast. Since his college days when he was a world record holder and one of the fastest swimmers in the world to this year when he set the Santa Barbara Channel record from the California mainland to Anacapa Island in 5 hours 5 minutes, the former USC Trojan has been breaking records. At the age of 67, he broke the existing Santa Barbara Channel one-way speed record by 25 minutes to become the oldest person to hold a channel speed record anywhere in the world. Even more remarkable is the fact that McConica also holds the Anacapa Island to mainland record - 19.6 km in the opposite direction - in 4 hours 38 minutes set in 2012 at the age of 61. For remaining suitably motivated to train hard enough to set overall channel swimming records and pool masters swimming records in his 60's, for setting the bar in the Santa Barbara Channel as one of the California Channel Islands most prolific swimmers, and for maintaining a love of swimming and a passion for daily training, the Santa Barbara Channel speed record crossing by Jim McConica of the USA is a worthy nominee for the 2018 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.

10. Sfax to Djerba Marathon Swim (Tunisia) by Nejib Belhedi
Nejib Belhedi has elevated the mindset and potential of open water swimming and human achievements in Tunisia and throughout the Middle East and Mediterranean Sea. As a continuation of his Ouma program, his icy swims, his boat pulls and marathon swims dating back to his English Channel crossing in 1993, Belhedi coordinated a wide spectrum of Tunisian institutions at different levels: national, regional and local from government ministries, federal agencies, regional governorates and Commissaries to local delegations, boatmen, volunteers, associations and sponsors to plan and complete the longest unassisted non-stop sea swim in history. His 76 hour 30 minute swim from Sfax to Djerba on the east coast of Tunisia between September 15th and 18th was a result of his indomitable spirit and an extraordinarily smooth logistical, navigational and operational support teams. Belhedi's recovery from open heart surgery and a transformation of his BMI and swimming stroke made his success even more remarkable. For recovering from open heart surgery to completing one of the longest swims in history, for cheerfully and positively inspiring many people of all ages and walks of life throughout Northern Africa and the Middle East, and for his creativity in organizing a difficult 120 km swim, the Sfax to Djerba Marathon Swim by Nejib Belhedi of Tunisia is a worthy nominee for the 2018 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.

11. Traversée Internationale du lac St-Jean (Canada) by Edoardo Stochino
Edoardo Stochino represents the Polizia of Italy very well. The 31-year-old won his second career FINA UltraMarathon Swim Series title by finishing in the top 3 in all three races including the 57 km race in Coronda-Santa Fe, Argentina, the 32 km race in lac St-Jean, Canada, and the 25 km race in Lake Ohrid, Macedonia. But it was his extremely close victory in the famed Traversée Internationale du lac St-Jean that sealed his second career FINA series title. He won the 32 km Traversée in 7 hours 10 minutes 52.7 seconds in less than a arm stroke and 0.7 seconds over rival Xavier Desharnais and 6.9 seconds over Alexander Studzinski that was seen by thousands of fans on the shores of lac St-Jean and many more watching online and on Canadian television. For swimming 32,000 meters and then pulling off a victory against two long-time rivals, for his consistent podium positions at the world's longest, most competitive professional swimming races, for maintaining his composure under all conditions and in all situations especially towards the end of marathon swims, the Traversée Internationale du lac St-Jean victory by Edoardo Stochino of Italy is a worthy nominee for the 2018 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.

12. Travessia do Leme ao Pontal (Brazil) by Glauco Luise de Oliveira Rangel
Do Leme ao Pontal is a popular Brazilian song that inspired 2-time Olympian Luiz Lima to pioneer a coastal marathon swim in 2008 in Brazil. As the 36 km course becomes increasingly popular with Brazilian and international swimmers, Glauco Rangel wanted to attempt the swim that traverses the dramatic coast of Rio de Janeiro, passing landmarks including Sugar Loaf, Copacabana Beach, Christ the Redeemer and Ipanema Beach. After receiving the generous financial assistance from friends and fellow swimmers who wanted to back his dream, Rangel proved the investment in his goal was wise after he set a course record in 7 hours 13 minutes. For dealing with nocturnal navigation, constant ocean swells, and strong currents in the Atlantic Ocean, for enduring jellyfish stings, an increasingly intense tropical rain and an upset stomach during the swim, and for swimming very fast along a course made popular by music, the Travessia do Leme ao Pontal by Glauco Luise de Oliveira Rangel of Brazil is a worthy nominee for the 2018 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.

13. Triple Country Swim (Italy-Monaco-France) by Carina Bruwer
Carina Bruwer is a Cape Town-based award-winning musician and producer is a marathon swimmer, mother of three, owner of Gigster, and a swimmer with a passion. She created a new course starting from Nice, France to the shoreline in Monte Carlo, Monaco, and then onwards to Ventimiglia, Italy. The 21 km cross-border swim passed two international borders and touched three countries in 7 hours 6 minutes, but generated awareness and funds for the @Muzukidz project so children from Cape Town townships are given the opportunity to learn how to play the violin. For completing the swim in difficult rough water against currents, for making a critical difference in the lives of less-fortunate children in her native South Africa, and for swimming to help others intellectually and musically through her unique platform called Swim For Hope, the cross-border Triple Country Swim by Carina Bruwer of South Africa is a worthy nominee for the 2018 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.

14. Tsugaru Channel Tandem Crossing (Japan) by Nora Toledano Cadena and Mariel Hawley Dávila
Nora Toledano Cadena and Mariel Hawley Dávila are icons, mentors, and authors in their native Mexico. En route to the Oceans Seven, they hit an insurmountable hurdle in 2017 when weather prevented them from attempting a crossing of the 19.5 km Tsugaru Channel. They waited another entire year, preparing for another attempt, but the weather from an anticipated typhoon led them to attempt the first tandem success across the channel in northern Japan. The experienced duo, physically fit and mentally resilient, took off and smashed the women's record and nearly set the overall record across the Tsugaru Channel. For their incredibly fast 6 hour 20 minute crossing from Honshu to Hokkaido in Japan, for continuing on their journey to become the first Mexican women to complete the Oceans Seven with only one channel remaining, and for their constant leadership, coaching and inspiration to help others realize their own dreams, the record-setting Tsugaru Channel Tandem Crossing by Nora Toledano Cadena and Mariel Hawley Dávila of Mexico is a worthy nominee for the 2018 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.

15. Two-way Santa Cruz Island Crossing (USA) by Ken Mignosa
Ken Mignosa, known as The Beast, is one very tough, very hardened channel swimmer. Near two-meter white-capped waves did not stop the 54-year-old during his 17 hour 18 minute Catalina Channel crossing and neither did an unprecedented two-way crossing between Santa Cruz Island and the California mainland with an extra swing around Anacapa Island. His 29 hour 22 minute channel swim was the second longest channel swim off the American West Coast in history and the first two-way Santa Cruz Island swim that painstakingly totalled 65.98 km. For successfully completing the second longest solo marathon swim in California Channel Islands history, for swimming so far with a heartfelt appreciation of his crew and a positive mindset and broad smile, and for quietly compiling an impressive list of channel swims in his 50’s, the Two-way Santa Cruz Island Crossing by Ken Mignosa of the USA is a worthy nominee for the 2018 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.

To register and vote on the WOWSA Awards and the 2018 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year here.

Margarita Llorens Bagur of Ciudadela, Islas Baleares, Spain [shown above] won the 2017 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year for her 73 km solo attempt to swim between Ibiza and Javea in the Spanish Islas Baleares. "For years, the 49-year-old president and inspiration of the Menorca Channel Swimming Association has been making several epic attempts in the Islas Baleares archipelago in her native Spain. Her unsuccessful crossings only made her stronger," describes Steven Munatones.

"In 2013, she attempted a 84 km swim from Ibiza to Mallorca (Cruce Canal Ibiza-Mallorca), but she called the swim after 20 hours 30 minutes and 74 km because of jellyfish. In 2014, she attempted the same 84 km swim again, but she ended up with the same result that she finally achieved in 2015 after 28 hours 13 minutes. In 2016, she attempted a 90 km solo swim between Eivissa and Dénia and in July 2017, she attempted a 90 km swim, swimming 73 km before difficult conditions and adverse currents led her crew to abort her pioneering attempt."

Tita joined the following previous winners of the World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year:

* 2009: Andrew Smilley of the Cayman Islands for his performance at the RCP Tiburon Mile in San Francisco
* 2010: Ventura Deep Six by Jim McConica, Tom Ball, Kurtis Baron, Jim Neitz, Mike Shaffer and John Chung of the USA for their 202-miles (325 km) relay in 101 hours 39 minutes along the California coast
* 2011: Nejib Belhedi of Tunisia for his 1400K Swim Across Tunisia
* 2012: Juan Ignacio Martínez Fernández-Villamil of Spain for organizing the Descenso a Nado de la Ría de Navia for four decades
* 2013: Bering Strait Swim, an international relay with 121 participants (swimmers + officials + crew)
* 2014: Diomede Islands Swim, a 5.6 km tandem swim between the USA and Russia by Alexandr Brylin and Grigorii Prokopchuk of Russia
* 2015: Strait of Messina record-breaking crossing by Andrea Fazio of Italy
* 2016: Sarah Thomas of U.S.A. for her 80-mile (128.7 km) crossing of Lake Powell in 56 hours 5 minutes 26 seconds
* 2017: Margarita Llorens Bagur (Spain) for her 73 km attempt between Ibiza and Javea in Islas Baleares

The 2018 WOWSA Awards nominees in the other categories include the following heroes and heroines of the open water swimming community:

2018 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year Nominees:
1. Benoît Lecomte (France/USA)
2. Cameron Bellamy (South Africa)
3. Diego López Dominguez (Canary Islands)
4. Ferry Weertman (Netherlands)
5. Igor Lukin (Russia)
6. Ion Lazarenco Tiron (Republic of Moldava)
7. John Batchelder (USA)
8. Jose Luis Larrosa Chorro (Spain)
9. Kristóf Rasovszky (Hungary)
10. Lewis Pugh (Great Britain/South Africa)
11. Maarten van der Weijden (Netherlands)
12. Ned Denison (Ireland/USA)
13. Rohan More (India)
14. Vladimir Mravec (Australia)
15. Yaroslav Pronin (Belarus)

For more information on the 2018 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year nominees, see here.

2018 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year Nominees:

1. Aleksandra Bednarek (Poland)
2. Abhejali Bernardová (Czech Republic)
3. Ana Marcela Cunha (Brazil)
4. Barbara Pozzobon (Italy)
5. Caroline Block, Ph.D. (USA)
6. Eilís Burns (Ireland)
7. Hania Bakuniak (Poland)
8. Jaimie Monahan (USA)
9. Nadezhda Dudina (Russia)
10. Oksana Beletskaya (Russia)
11. Paula Selby (USA)
12. Pat Gallant-Charette (USA)
13. Rondi Davies, Ph.D. (USA)
14. Sharon van Rouwendaal (Netherlands)
15. Teruko Onuki (Japan)

For more information on the 2018 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year nominees, see here.

2018 World Open Water Offering of the Year Nominees:
1. A History of Marathon Swimming (USA) by Joe Grossman & Steve Walker
2. AKUA Kelp Jerky (USA) by Courtney Boyd Myers
3. Asociación de Cruce a Nado del Río de la Plata (Argentina) by Lucas Rivet
4. ENERGYbits® (USA) by Catharine Arnston
5. Icebears Hintertux (Austria) by Josef Köberl
6. International Ice Swimming Association World Cup Series by Ram Barkai
7. Marathon Swimming: The Sport of the Soul (USA) by Paul Asmuth
8. Maelstrom Seven by Wild Swimming Brothers
9. Ontberingen van een marathonzwemster / Hardships Of A Marathonswimmer (Netherlands) by Monique Blok-Wildschut
10. Patagonia Swim (Chile) by Cristian Vergara and Julieta Núñez Gundlach
11. St. Lucia Channel Swim (St. Lucia & Martinique) by Sue Dyson & Nathaniel Waring
12. Tahiti Swimming Experience (Tahiti) by Stéphane Debaere & Tahitian Swimming Federation
13. Take Your Dream (Australia) by Eric, Hunter and Tuck Helmick
14. TOWER 26 (USA) by Gerry Rodrigues
15. Waikiki Roughwater Swim DIY Swim Certificate (Hawaii) by Michael Rök & Jim Cotton

For more information on the 2018 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year nominees, see here.

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