It’s summer somewhere around the world. And if there is an elite marathon competition, it is usually the case that Dennis Miller of Fiji is there.

Dennis is the Liaison of the FINA Technical Open Water Swimming Committee, a FINA Bureau member and the Executive Director of the Oceania National Olympic Committees based out of Suva, Fiji.

We are heading into a busy year,” commented Dennis in a typical understatement. In 2012, he will oversee three major international competitions: the 2012 Olympic Games Qualifying events in Setubal, Portugal, the 2012 London Olympics Marathon Swimming events, and the 2012 FINA World Junior Open Water Swimming Championships in Welland, Canada.

As part of his FINA Technical Open Water Swimming Committee from 1997 to the present, he has been responsible for the delivery of the 2010 FINA Open Water World Swimming Championships in Roberval, Canada, the open water swimming events at the 2011 FINA World Swimming Championships in Shanghai, China, and the 2011 Olympic Games Marathon Swimming Test Events in London.

But before he reached the pinnacle of the open water swimming world, Dennis put in his time organizing, promoting, coaching and managing aquatic athletes for decades quietly and professionally.

A representative of Fiji Swimming as an athlete (national champion in 1974), team manager (1982 Commonwealth Games in Brisbane and 1988 Seoul Olympics), Chef de Mission (1996 Atlanta Olympics), Assistant Chef de Mission (1993 South Pacific Mini Games, Vanuatu; 1995 South Pacific Games, Tahiti), Swimming Technical Official (1987 South Pacific Games, Noumea; 1991 South Pacific Games, Port Moresby; 1999 South Pacific Games, Guam; 2000 Sydney Olympic, 2002 Commonwealth Games, Manchester, 2006 Commonwealth Games, Melbourne; 2007 South Pacific Games, Apia, Samoa; Oceania Swimming Championships 1988 (Brisbane), 2000 (Christchurch), 2002 (Noumea) 2006 (Cairns), 2008 (Christchurch); World Swimming Championships 1991 & 1998 (Perth), 2001 (Fukuoka), 2003 (Barcelona), 2005 (Montreal), 2009 (Rome); World Open Water Swimming Championships 2000 (Honolulu), 2002 (Sharm el Sheikh), 2004 (Dubai), 2006 (Naples), 2008 (Seville), Referee in the women’s Olympic 10K Marathon Swim (2008 Beijing Olympics), FINA Technical Delegate (Marathon Swimming World Cup in Atlantic City USA 2001 & 2002, Lac St Jean Canada 2001 & 2003, Hong Kong 2004, 2005 & 2006, Singapore 2006; 1st Asian Beach Games, Bali Indonesia 2008, and Swimming Competition Manager at the 2003 South Pacific Games, Fiji; 2004 Oceania Swimming Championships, Fiji and the 2005 Oceania Masters Swimming Championships, Fiji, he has been all over the world.

Even looking further out on his calendar, Dennis is piling up the air miles like no other open water swimming representative. He will be responsible for the open water swimming events at the 2013 FINA World Swimming Championships in Barcelona, all of the FINA Marathon Swimming World Cup race and FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix races in Argentina, Canada, Serbia, Macedonia, Portugal, Italy, Brazil, Hong Kong and China.

Promotion, safety, logistical coordination, operations, course design, press relations, adjudication of rules, adherence to protocols and procedures, scheduling…his responsibilities are never ending as the sport continues to grow in participation numbers, locations and events.

But it was partly his fault.

Together with FINA Technical Open Water Swimming Committee colleagues, Sid Cassidy and Christopher Guesdon, Dennis helped literally mapped out the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim concept on a napkin in a restaurant over 10 tens ago. That napkin and that revolutionary plan eventually led to the sport of open water swimming being added to the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Olympics.

Thank you, Dennis.

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