Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Arguably, she has helped drive the knowledge base of the cold water swimming community more than any other individual in recent times.

Dr. Nataliya Fatyanova, arguably the world’s leading medical expert in ice swimming, was voted by the public as the 2014 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year.

The WOWSA Award winner from Russia researches, observes, advises, and watches over the emerging community of cold water swimmers like few others. It is her passion and her knowledge that are treasured among those who delve in waters below 5°C (41°F). With venues built out of frozen lakes, she helps cold water adventurists prepare and recover from their extreme exploits. Her scientific approach is enhanced by her warm heart and sincere care for the athletes who are pushing the boundaries of human achievement.

In her own scientific niche, Dr. Fatyanova is exploring the future of not only cold water open water swimming, but also the extreme physiological boundaries of athletic pursuits. The most well-known and research-oriented physician focused on ice swimming and other cold-water pursuits, Dr. Fatyanova is on the leading edge of learning what the human body can endure and withstand. She is fine-tuning what parameters are necessary to allow athletes to prepare for winter swimming competitions and has streamlined protocols on how best to enable responsible recovery and safe re-warming from hypothermic conditions.

She’s one amazing woman and with that smile, she will forbid you from getting into the water,” recalls Nuala Moore. “During the Bering Strait Swim on the ship, she said anyone not passing [the physical] tests will not swim. She’s brilliant.”

For her passionate and intellectual approach to keeping swimmers safe in cold water, for her medical and scientific leadership in the winter swimming community, for sharing her findings and information with the global swimming world, Dr. Nataliya Fatyanova is a worthy recipient of the 2014 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year award.

Dr. Fatyanova’s fellow 2014 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year nominees include:

1. Ana Marcela Cunha (Brazil), FINA 10K Marathon Swimming World Cup Champion
2. Bhakti Sharma (India), Marathon Swimmer & Educational Reformist
3. Carina Bruwer (South Africa), Freestyling Flautist
4. Chloë McCardel (Australia), Marathon Swimmer & Coach
5. Colleen Mallon (Ireland), Channel Swimmer & Volunteer
6. Elaine Howley (USA), Communicator, Organizer, Swimmer
7. Kimberley Chambers (New Zealand), Oceans Seven Swimmer
8. Nataliya Fatyanova, M.D. (Russia), Ice Swimming Researcher & Physician
9. Pilar Geijo (Argentina), FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix Co-Champion
10. Sharon van Rouwendaal (Netherlands), 2-time European Champion
11. Sylvia Rybárová (Czech Republic), FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix Co-Champion
12. Susan Simmons (Canada), Marathon Swimmer with Multiple Sclerosis

The previous World Open Water Swimming Women of the Year include:

* 2008 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year was Edith van Dijk of the Netherlands
* 2009 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year was Poliana Okimoto of Brazil
* 2010 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year was Anne Marie Ward of Ireland
* 2011 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year was Pilar Geijo of Argentina
* 2012 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year was Annaleise Carr of Canada
* 2013 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year was Olga Kozydub of Russia.

Footnote: The 2014 WOWSA Award winners are as follows:

* 2014 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year: Dr. Nataliya Fatyanova (Russia)
* 2014 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year: Henri Kaarma (Estonia)
* 2014 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year: Diomede Islands Swim by Alexandr Brylin and Grigori Prokopchuk (Russia)
* 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)

Photos courtesy of Nuala Moore.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association