As solid as Ned Denison was in the goal as an outstanding water polo keeper in America, he is even a greater force to be reckoned with in the world of open water.

Ned has motivated, educated, organized and assisted thousands of swimmers from California to Cork in a sport that he passionately serves with compassion, experience and a relentless drive. He is a mountain of a man who has helped and energized many open water swimmers under the auspices of the Irish Long Distance Swimming Association and the force of his engaging personality.

His work on land has developed from his successes and skills in the water. As an individual marathon swimmer, Ned has completed the English Channel in 12:47, the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim, 26.4K Lake Zurich in 7:37, set the world record in 10:27 for the 31K Santa Barbara (California) Channel between Santa Cruz Island to the California mainland and was the first person to swim around the Great Island (25.7K) in 7:18 and around Valentia Island (25.7K) in 8:52. For these last three swims, Ned holds records that are noted in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame.

But his contributions and legacy are even more significant on land. “As an administrator, my key contributions have been to inspire swimmers to be active in
the open water, to encourage them to set stretch goals and, before they know it, to become successful marathon swimmers. I started the marathon craze in Cork, Ireland by declaring for the English Channel in 2004. Today we now count 12 soloers and more than 20 relayers with ten more Cork swimmers booked for English Channel solos in 2010
.”

Besides starting the Blackrock to Cobh swim (now known as the 16K Cork to Cobh swim), Ned also founded the Cork Ireland – 2010 Long Distance Swim Camp and the Irish Champion of Champions Swim that had 50 participants in 2009 and has hosted three annual English Channel dinners.

His activities are not limited to only marathon swims. Ned is the chairperson of Ireland’s first National Open Water Committee and author of most of the open water content on the Swim Ireland website. Through his efforts and his colleagues, Swim Ireland has now prepared two swimmers for the European Open Water Championships for the first time in 2010.

He also created the first national list of open water swims which directly led to a
doubling of the number of swims insured by Swim Ireland and assembled a mailing list to over 3,000 swimmers in Ireland to promote open water swimming. In 2006, he organized 94 Irish swimmers to travel to the Alcatraz swim in San Francisco, California which remains the largest group of swimmers from Ireland to compete internationally in a competition.

His activities also extend to America where he is a founding member of the Santa Barbara Channel Swimming Association and is on the committee for the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim as well as one of the founding members of the Kingdom Swim in Vermont.

Like his own personal marathon swims, Ned has come a long way as an administrator, coach and motivator of others, but he undoubtedly still has a long way to go.

Copyright © 2010 by Open Water Source