Open water swimmers are humble athletes who often face and overcome nearly insurmountable odds largely out of the public limelight. Quiet, respectful and reserved are the more likely descriptions of the open water swimmers rather than loud, arrogant and bombastic.
They give praise to their families, coaches, pilots, observers and volunteers both onshore and in the water. They are appreciative in a profound way for the safety personnel, feeders, crews, swim buddies and officials who support in training and on race day.
But recognition and accolades are swooping down on the well-deserved athletes and luminaries of the sport. The winners of various awards are not only outstanding ambassadors of the open water swimming, but they also represent the millions of open water swimmers of every age, ability and background. Their courage and commitment is mirrored by most others, many of who receive little or no public recognition.
The Who’s Who of the sport, the best of the rest, the crème de la crème are honored by all kinds of wards including the following organizations, groups and publications that does not include the hundreds of national governing bodies that also give honor to outstanding open water swimmers from Australia Swimming to USA Swimming:
Swimming World Magazine annually recognizes the Male and Female Open Water Swimmers of the Year. The 2012 awards were given to Oussama Mellouli and Eva Risztov as the awards have traditionally gone to the World or Olympic champion in the 10 km marathon swim.
FINA annually recognizes its FINA Athletes of the Year. The 2012 awards were given to Oussama Mellouli and Eva Risztov as the awards have traditionally gone to the World or Olympic champion in the 10 km marathon swim.
LEN (Ligue Européenne de Natation) recognizes the top European open water swimmers of the year.
SwimSwam gives out the Swammy Awards to its choice of the top Open Water Swimmer of the Year through the selection of its staff.
FINA recognizes its Athletes of the Year by selection of its members and the media.
The MarathonSwimmers.org Global Marathon Swimming Awards recognizes the Solo Swim of the Year (Male) for the single most outstanding solo marathon swim by a male, Solo Swim of the Year (Female) for the single most outstanding solo marathon swim by a female, and The Barra Award for the marathon swimmer (male or female) with the most impressive body of work, considered as a whole, by vote of its members.
The World Open Water Swimming Awards offers the public to vote for the World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year, the World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year, the World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year, and the World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
Since the early 1960’s, the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame has been inducting marathon swimmers, pilots, coaches, administrators, observers and officials in its Hall of Fame.
The Hudsie Awards or Hudsies recognize participation in events organized by NYC Swim. The awards recognize individuals who complete the most number of events, both annually and historically, as well as the Rookies of the Year.
The Channel Swimming Association gives out the following awards at the end of its swimming season:
The Audrey Scott Commemorative Award is an award given to the individual for the Greatest Contribution to the Channel Swimming Association
The Belhedi Trophy is awarded to the Fastest Swimmer on the Highest Tide
The Bill Pickering Shield is awarded to the Fastest Ladies Relay (not 6 Swimmers)
The CSA Centenary Cup is awarded to the Fastest Swim by a British person
The CSA Gold Medal is awarded to the individual with the Fastest Solo Swim of the year
The CSA Special Award Shield
The Derek Turner Trophy is awarded to the Earliest / Latest Swim (the mid-point is 14 August)
The Garnet Martin Cup is awarded to the Fastest Relay
The Gertrude Ederle Cup is awarded to a World Record 2 Way Swim
The Graeme Thompson Memorial Cup is awarded to the Youngest Successful Swimmer
The Howe Bridge CRT Award is given to the Fastest Breaststroke Swimmer
The John Bullett Cup is awarded to the Youngest Relay Team
The John & Gwen Jacques Shield is awarded to the Fastest Ladies Relay
The John Unicume Wood Cup is awarded to the Fastest Swim by a Man
The Julie Bradshaw Award is awarded to the Greatest Feat of Endurance by a Ladies Relay
The Julie Bradshaw Trophy is awarded to the Fastest Butterfly Swim
The Lada Cross Channel Cup is awarded to the Fastest Junior Relay
The Letona Trophy is awarded to the King of the Channel®, the Most Successful Swims by a CSA Man
Mark Rickhuss Memorial Trophy is awarded to the Fastest 2 Way Swim
The Montserrat Tresserras Cup is awarded to the Fastest Swimmer from a New Country
The Montserrat Tresserras Shield is awarded to the Fastest Men’s Relay (not 6 Swimmers)
The Observer of the Year Shield is awarded to the CSA Observer of the Year
The O’Clee Jubilee Cup is awarded to the Oldest Successful Swimmer
The Oldman Trophy is awarded to the BLDSA Swimmer of the Year
The Pierre Van Vooren Memorial Trophy is awarded to the individual with the Swim in the most Arduous Conditions
The Ray & Audrey Scott Trophy is awarded to the Queen of the Channel®, the Most Successful Swims by a CSA Lady
The Ray Cossum Shield is awarded to the Fastest Mixed Relay (not 6 Swimmers)
The Ray Scott Memorial Shield is awarded to the Fastest Mixed Relay
The Robert Lyle Memorial Cup is awarded to the Fastest American Swimmer
The Rosemary George Trophy is awarded to the Most Meritorious Swimmer
The Sotiraki Cup is awarded to the Fastest Swim by a Lady
The Stan Maycock Shield is awarded to the Fastest Men’s Relay
The Sunny Lowry Cup is awarded to the Fastest British Lady
The Teresa Zarzeczanska Cup is awarded to the Fastest 2 Way Ladies Relay
The Van Audenaerde Endurance Cup is awarded to the Greatest Feat of Endurance
The Van Audenaerde Tankard is a Special Award to a Disabled Swimmer
The Channel Swimming & Piloting Federation gives out the following annual awards for those who successfully swim across the English Channel:
Eurotunnel Trophy for the fastest CS&PF swim of the year
Gertrude Ederle Award for the most meritorious CS&PF swim of the year by a woman
Des Renford Award for the most meritorious CS&PF swim of the year by a man
Peter Adams Award for the CS&PF successful endurance swim of the year
Frank Richards Endurance Award for the CS&PF endurance swim of the year
Audrey Scott Award for the youngest successful CS&PF swimmer of the year
Ray Scott Award for the oldest successful CS&PF swimmer of the year
Alison Streeter MBE Award for the fastest CS&PF 2-way swim of the year
Barrie Darling Award for the CS&PF pilot/crew member of the year
Dover Straits Award for the fastest CS&PF relay crossing of the year
Longest Standard Relay Crossing Award for the longest CS&PF standard relay swim of the year
Observers Award for the CS&PF observer of the year
Most Meritorious Special Category Relay for the most meritorious CS&PF special category swim of the year
CS&PF “Special Thanks” Award for the supporters/volunteers contribution to the Federation
Seafarers Award for the fastest British swimmer of the Year
JLDSC “For Special Recognition” Award and Cup for the most successful CS&PF swim completed under exceptional circumstances
Leo Cox Award for the fastest CS&PF Junior relay swim of the year
And established governing bodies from the Catalina Channel Swimming Federation and the Santa Barbara Channel Swimming Association to the Jersey Long Distance Swimming Club give recognition and honor to its member swimmers, observers, pilots and volunteers.
As the sport continues to grow and the social media continues to exponentially expand, the scope and number of awards, honors and recognitions will also continue to increase. These awards enable the general public, media and interested swimmers to learn more about the sport and its most accomplished athletes. While some awards like those given by Swimming World Magazine, SwimSwam and LEN focus on the fastest swimmers, other organizations like the Marathon Swimmers Forum focus on marathon swimmers and others like WOWSA bring attention to coaches, pilots, race directors and disabled athletes who also play important roles in the sport.
While fans and swimmers have their own preferences for their favorite athletes, the different awards help raise the tide for the entire sport and all of its participants from swimmers to coaches, pilots to race directors, officials and administrators.
Copyright © 2012 by Open Water Source