Courtesy of Aquatic Capital of America, Long Beach, California.

It has been quite a year for 50-year-old Hank Wise.

With a 7 hour 55 minute crossing of the 32.3 km channel, Wise became the new King of the Catalina Channel.

The Long Beach Wilson High School and Stanford University graduate and lifelong surfer and waterman will be honored as the Athlete of the Year by the Aquatic Capital of America. 50-year-old Wise will join a number of other ocean- and swimming-related athletes, coaches and administrators at The Winners Circle for the Aquatic Capital of America’s 10th Annual Awards Banquet on January 17th 2019.

The 2018 Aquatic Capital of America awardees include:

Athlete of the Year – Hank Wise
Coach of the Year – Gavin Arroyo, California State University Long Beach State and USA Water Polo coach
Organization of the Year – Catalina Ski Race, a 99.7 km ski race across the Catalina Channel
Tom Shadden Citizen of the Year – John Hancock, Harbor Commissioner for the Port of Long Beach
Outstanding Achievement of the Year – David Hein, Catalina Ski Race Veterans Division winner
Special Honoree of the Year – Mario Cordero, Port of Long Beach Executive Director and Federal Maritime Commissioner
Community Service – Justin Rudd, Community Action Team founder and organizer of 62 events
Dick Miller Waterman/Woman Award – Mike Baker, outrigger canoer, Dragon Boat racer and organizer, Surfrider Foundation Long Beach Chapter founder

In 2016, Wise was also selected as the Waterman of the Year by the Aquatic Capital of America Foundation.

Aquatic Capital of America founder Tom Shadden said, “I established this organization to recognize Long Beach’s rich water sports history and to support future aquatic athletes. The 2028 Los Angeles/Long Beach Olympics will have a major impact on our city for years to come. This year’s winners exemplify the dedication, passion and drive that makes Long Beach the Aquatic Capital of America.”

For more information on the Aquatic Capital of America and its awards ceremony, visit here.

Wise was one of the nominees for the 2018 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year (listed below alphabetically). His nomination reads, “Hank Wise found his calling at the age of 45. The Long Beach, California native has always been drawn to the ocean and excelled in the pool until he graduated from Stanford University. While he surfed and dabbled in short ocean races in Southern California in his younger years, he had never even attempted a channel swim until relatively late in life. But he made up for lost time when he became the King of the Catalina Channel after his seventh career crossing of the Catalina Channel in October this year. After completing two Top 10 times (8 hours 7 minutes both in 2010 and 2015), he finished five additional crossings in all kinds of conditions: 8 hours 20 minutes in 2016, 10 hours 14 minutes and 10 hours 1 minute in 2017, and 7 hours 55 minutes in 2018.

For taking up channel swimming at such an advanced age and becoming the King of the Catalina Channel, for being so passionate and deeply appreciative of his crew, pilots and volunteers on each crossing, for becoming one of the few to break 8 hours among the 450 successful Catalina Channel swimmers, for developing his channel swimming passion and sharing it with others, the record-setting Catalina Channel Crossing by Hank Wise of the USA is a worthy nominee for the 2018 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.

2018 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year Nominees:
1. Catalina Channel Crossing (USA) by Hank Wise
2. Century Swim around Key West (USA) by Bill Welzien
3. Great British Swim (UK) by Ross Edgley
4. HK360Swim Around Hong Kong Island (Hong Kong) by Simon Holliday
5. Ice Kilometer (Netherlands) by Sven Elfferich
6. Double Ice Mile (Germany) by Hamza Bakircioglu
7. Kangsha River Swim (Bangladesh) by Kshitindra Chandra Baisya
8. Lake Zürich Two-Way Crossing (Switzerland) by Katrin Walter
9. Santa Barbara Channel Crossing (USA) by Jim McConica
10. Sfax to Djerba Marathon Swim (Tunisia) by Nejib Belhedi
11. Traversée Internationale du lac St-Jean (Canada) by Edoardo Stochino
12. Travessia do Leme ao Pontal (Brazil) by Glauco Luise de Oliveira Rangel
13. Triple Country Swim (Italy-Monaco-France) by Carina Bruwer
14. Tsugaru Channel Tandem Crossing (Japan) by Nora Toledano Cadena and Mariel Hawley Dávila
15. Two-way Santa Cruz Island Crossing (USA) by Ken Mignosa

To register and vote on the WOWSA Awards and the 2018 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year, visit here.

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