In September, the 15-year-old Andrea set a new record for a single crossing of the Strait of Messina (Stretto di Messina) that was selected as the 2015 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.
His crossing from Sicily to mainland Italy took 30 minutes 6 seconds – and took down one of the oldest channel swimming records in history. “It is kind of an epochal moment in Italian open water swimming history,” proudly described father Nino. “Since the old record had been set almost 40 years ago by Giovanni Fiannacca (30 minutes 50 seconds in 1975) and was previously considered as quasi-unbeatable.”
Andrea’s record swim was due to many factors, but a lot had to do with the teenager’s beautiful technique, streamlined body position and strong kick in the water. “He is a good pool swimmer for his age with his personal best in the 400m long course freestyle as 4’19”, but there are other 15 year old boys faster than him. But he absolutely loves open water swimming and has participated in open water competitions since he was 10.”
The swim was led by Giovanni Arena [shown above with Andrea], one of the most experienced pilots in the Strait. Arena had also escorted the swimmers who set the women’s single crossing record and Nino’s own double crossing record.
So while the son holds the single crossing record, his father simultaneously holds the double crossing record – that made this swim special.
The final 2015 WOWSA Award results:
1. Andrea Fazio (Italy): 11,945 votes
2. Nejib Belhedi (Tunisia): 8,024 votes
3. 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): 133 votes
4. Wendy Trehiou (Jersey): 117 votes
5. Jim Clifford (U.S.A.): 113 votes
6. Trent Theroux (U.S.A.): 113 votes
7. The Deep Enders by Jim McConica, Tom Ball, John Chung, Zach Jirkovsky, Tamie Stewart, Stacey Warmuth (U.S.A.): 111 votes
8. Dan Projansky (U.S.A.): 87 votes
9. Susan Simmons (Canada): 77 votes
10. Matthew Moseley (U.S.A.): 66 votes
11. Night Train Swimmers by Grace van der Byl, Dave Holscher, Kimberley Chambers, Adam Eilath, Ashley Horne, Vito Bialla (International) NT300 Relay: 54 votes
12. Team Nadadores Locos by Amy Appelhans Gubser, Kirk McKinney, Les Mangold, John Sims, Jeff Everett, Andrew McLaughlin (U.S.A.): 53 votes
13. Swim the Eden Expedition by Calum Hudson, Jack Hudson, Robbie Hudson (Great Britain): 52 votes
14. Kimberley Chambers (New Zealand): 49 votes
15. Andreas Fath (Germany): 35 votes
16. 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.): 28 votes
17. Ganga Avahan by Paramvir Singh, Gullupilli Narahari and Saripilli Srihari (India): 26 votes
18. Christian Reichert (Germany): 22 votes
19. Jordan Wilimovsky (U.S.A.): 17 votes
20. Theodore Yach (South Africa): 15 votes
21. Oceans Seven Relay by Rick Gaenzle, Chris Kraus, Brian Ross (U.S.A.): 12 votes
22. Kelly Gneiting (U.S.A.): 9 votes
23. Mike Arbuthnot (South Africa): 8 votes
Total number of votes: 21,166
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
2015 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year: Strait of Messina crossing by Andrea Fazio
The 2015 WOWSA Awards included:
* World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year: Bridgette Hobart Janeczko of the U.S.A.
* World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year: Antonio Argüelles Díaz-González of Mexico
* World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year: Andrea Fazio of Italy
* World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year: World Ice Swimming Championships in Murmansk, Russia
The 2015 WOWSA Awards recipients will be honored at the Big Chill Swim International Winter Swimming World Cup on February 5th 2016 at the Low Wood Bay Resort Hotel and Marina in the Lake District’s Windermere, England. Hosted by Chillswim and Colin Hill, the 2014 and 2015 recipients will be presented their awards by Lewis Pugh, United Nations Patron of the Oceans.
The 2014 WOWSA Award recipients include Estonia’s Henri Kaarma as World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year, Russia’s Dr. Nataliya Fatyanova as World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year, Russia’s Alexandr Brylin and Grigorii Prokopchuk as World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year, and Ireland’s Step Out Of The Ordinary Blue Letter Campaign as World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year). The World Open Water Swimming Awards tickets are available here.
Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association