Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

The World Ice Swimming Championships in Murmansk, Russia was honored as the 2015 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year.

Murmansk is the largest city inside the Arctic Circle where the city administration cut open a 25m pool in Lapland Lake Semenovskoye.

With the air temperature around Lake Semenovskoe in Murmansk at -7°C and the water temperature at 0.8°C, the event showcased one of the most dramatic ice swimming races in history when the final 1 km heat featured Germany’s Christof Wandratsch, Russia’s Albert Sobirov, and Estonia’s Henri Kaarma [shown above].

The level of competition could not get any better with this head-to-head battle among the world’s most hardy men. “It was an amazing race with stunning performances,” describes Nuala Moore. “It is hard to believe the speed and the brilliance of these guys.”

The 1 km event also showcased the younger generation that were well-represented by sisters Renata Novakova and Iveta Novakova (Czech Republic) and Elina Makinen (Finland).

The final 2015 WOWSA Award voting results:

1. World Ice Swimming Championships in Russia: 5,423 votes
2. SwimEars® by Hans Henrik Heming: 5,184 votes
3. Chillswim Coniston by Chillswim: 187 votes
4. Axis Buoy by FINIS: 168 votes
5. Swimmit by Ivan Peralta: 138 votes
6. Lake Geneva Swimming Association by Ben Barham: 69 votes
7. Madswimmers Charity Swims by Jean Craven: 51 votes
8. SwimTrack by Evan Morrison: 37 votes
9. Swim Across America: 35 votes
10. SwimCross in Switzerland: 25 votes
11. WEST (Water World Swimming Therapy): 23 votes
12. Find A Way by Diana Nyad: 19 votes
13. Best Places To Swim by Orca: 17 votes
14. Samsung Boğaziçi Kıtalararası Yüzme Yarışı (Samsung Intercontinental Bosphorus Swimming Competition) by the National Olympic Committee of Turkey: 8 votes
15. Sting No More™ by Dr. Angel Yanagihara: 7 votes
16. IOLITE by Stephen Holm, Raymond Rogers, and Justin Peck: 3 votes

Total number of votes: 11,394

Co-organizer Dmitry Blokhin of Murmansk worked hard to make the world’s ice swimming community feel welcomed at such high latitudes. His hospitality and professionalism helped the city become one of the epicenters of cold water adventures.

Without a doubt, the organizers from Murmansk and the International Ice Swimming Association has kicked off a grand opportunity for cold water swimmers and their fans. Safety and preparation as well as pomp and circumstance were the themes in Murmansk while the athletic performances were mindbogglingly off the charts. It has helped set the stage for an entire generation of international ice swimming exploits.

World Ice Swimming Championships joins the previous winners of the World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year Award:

* 2012 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year: SWIM Channel, produced by Patrick Winkler of Brazil
* 2013 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year: International Ice Swimming Association, founded by Ram Barkai of South Africa
* 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)
* 2015 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year: World Ice Swimming Championships

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