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 achievements throughout the international open water swimming community in 2016 with so many possible award winners and nominees.
The criteria to select was based on the individual 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.
Sarah Thomas‘ 80-mile (128.7 km) solo swim of 56 hours 5 minutes between October 4th and 6th in Lake Powell was selected as 2016 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year. Her nomination read:
Sarah Thomas of the USA stretched her imagination and that of the entire global open water swimming community when the über swimmer from Colorado created a unique 80.0-mile (128.7 km) point-to-point ultra marathon swim. 56 hours 5 minutes after starting and zigzagging between the picturesque canyon walls of Lake Powell on the Arizona-Utah border in the western United States, Thomas walked up the boat ramp at Wahweap Marina at the finish like she just finished a one-mile warm-up. Smiling broadly and chatting easily with a caked mixture of Desitin and lanolin, the 34-year-old’s massively long solo swim was punctuated by stiff 20 mph winds (32 kph) and miserable conditions. But she powered through the miserable conditions and two nights to set a standard that energized the global marathon swimming community. For her awe-inspiring effort, for her genuinely joyful swim of over 56 straight hours, for keeping the global open water swimming community riveted to her steady pace over two consecutive days and nights, Sarah Thomas’ Lake Powell Swim is a worthy nominee for the 2016 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.
Thomas’ fellow nominees were as follows:
1. Toshio Tominaga (Japan) Tsugaru Channel Crossing
2. Craig Dietz (Kingdom Swim Marathon Swim)
3. Sarah Thomas (USA) Lake Powell Crossing
4. Jennifer Figge (USA) Bermuda Triangle Swim
5. Pieter Christian Jongeneel Anderica (Spain) Double Manhattan Circumnavigation
6. Dan Canta (Romania) Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming
7. Sean Conway (Great Britain) Swim Leg of the World’s Longest Triathlon
8. Hudson Brothers (Great Britain) Into the Maelstrom
9. Cristian Vergara (Chile) Easter Island Circumnavigation
10. Jarrod Poort (Australia) Olympic 10K Marathon Swim
11. Javier Mérida Prieto (Spain) Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming
12. Patrick McKnight (USA) Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming
13. Spyridon Gianniotis (Greece) Olympic 10K Marathon Swim
14. Malvinas/Falklands Islands Challenge by Matías Ola (Argentina) and Jackie Cobell (Great Britain)
15. Stephanie Hopson (USA) English Channel Crossing
16. Carol Schumacher Hayden (USA) Catalina Channel Crossing
17. Vasilly Mosin (Russia) Winter Swimming
“Sarah and all the other nominees, as well as the innumerable other swimmers who ventured offshore in 2016, deserve a well-deserved accolades 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 men and women as well as the sport of open water swimming in general,” says Steven Munatones. “Sarah’s crew was similarly outstanding with Jamie Patrick, husband Ryan Willis, Andrew Malinak, Suzie Dods, Karl Kingery, Scott Olson, John Baxter, Becky Powell, Melody Maxson, Jack Nuanes, Alice Barton, Ken Classen, and Alex Thomas.”
Copyright © 2016 by World Open Water Swimming Association