Photos of Jaimie Monahan courtesy of Arik Thormahlen.

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, and World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.

The WOWSA Awards are selected via an online World Open Water Swimming Association poll.

There were innumerable outstanding women throughout the international open water swimming community in 2016 with so many possible award winners and nominees.

The criteria was based on the woman who best embodies the spirit of open water swimming, possesses the sense of adventure, tenacity and perseverance that open water swimmers are known for, and most positively influenced the world of open water swimming in calendar year 2016.

Jaimie Monahan of New York clearly fit that description based on her marathon swims and ice swims around the world. Her WOWSA Award nomination read:

Jaimie Monahan seemed ubiquitous around the globe, certainly among the world’s most prolific swimmers. In addition to winning the International Winter Swimming Association’s World Cup and competing in Latvia, Russia, United Kingdom, China, Sweden, and Estonia, she completed marathon swims around Manhattan Island, across Italy’s Lake Como, across Switzerland’s Lake Geneva, in the Rose Pitonof Swim, across New York’s Lake George, around Italy’s Lago d’Orta, around New Jersey’s Absecon Island, down the Hudson River, and in Bolivia’s Lake Titicaca. She also did an Ice Mile in Iceland and serves as the President of the Lake Geneva Swimming Association despite leading a professional services firm in New York. For her impressive versatility in competing in ice-water sprints and warm-water marathons, for balancing a full-time job and a globetrotting swimming itinerary, and for her relentlessly genuine efforts to serve as a charismatic ambassador for marathon swimming and winter swimming, Jaimie Monahan is a worthy nominee for the 2016 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year.

The nominees for the World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year were as follows:

1. Victoria Mori (Argentina)
2. Rachele Bruni (Italy)
3. Sharon van Rouwendaal (Netherlands)
4. Olga Kozydub (Russia)
5. Sally Minty-Gravett, M.B.E. (Jersey)
6. Chloë McCardel (Australia)
7. Pat Gallant-Charette (USA)
8. Elizabeth Fry (USA)
9. Cheryl Reinke (USA)
10. Sabrina Wiedmer (Switzerland)
11. Nuala Moore (Ireland)
12. Shelley Taylor-Smith (Australia)
13. Samantha Arévalo Salinas (Ecuador)
14. Jaimie Monahan (USA)

Jaimie and all the other nominees, as well as the innumerable other girls and women who ventured offshore in 2016, deserve all the accolades they receive for their achievements, grit and sense of adventure. They organized and planned, trained and acclimated, inspired and achieved beyond what many thought possible. The future is very bright for these individuals as well as the sport of open water swimming in general,” says Steven Munatones.

Her prolific Barraesque year included the following swims:

• 4.6-mile (7.5 km) swim from Isla de la Luna to Isla del Sol in Lake Titicaca, Bolivia on May 7th in 2 hours 23 minutes
• 18.6-mile (57.9 km) Stage 7: Liberty of 8 Bridges Hudson River Swim down the Hudson River in New York City on July 3rd in 6 hours 17 minutes
• 22.5-mile (30 km) circumnavigation swim of Absecon Island, New Jersey on July 11th in 13 hours 59 minutes
• 17-mile (27 km) swim around Lago d’Orta, Italy on July 23rd in 8 hours 38 minutes
• 32-mile (52 km) Lake George Marathon Swim on August 6th-7th in 21 hours 12 minutes
• 17-mile (27 km) Rose Pitonof Swim on August 13th in 5 hours 1 minute
• 42-mile (69 km) swim across Lake Geneva, Switzerland on August 31st to September 1st in 28 hours 36 minutes in an unprecedented crossing from Geneva to Villeneuve
• 31-mile (50 km) swim across Lake Como, Italy on September 7th-8th in 20 hours 29 minutes
• 28.5-mile (46 km) 20 Bridges Circumnavigation Swim of Manhattan on October 1st in 8 hours 13 minutes.

Arik Thormahlen explained how her tireless activities in the open water do not start and end at the water’s edge. “Outside the water, Jaimie serves as President of the Lake Geneva Swimming Association, works a demanding full-time job for a leading professional services firm, and is an avid supporter of the New York Public Library.”

Copyright © 2016 by World Open Water Swimming Association