Jonty Warneken screams success. The personable English swimmer seeks and achieves his goals both on land and in the water despite having lost his left leg in a car accident years ago.
But the only disabled ice swimmer in history wants others to venture with him beyond the shorelines around the globe.
At the 2014 Global Open Water Swimming Conference on the Isle of Bute in Scotland, Warneken first proposed the Para Five.
The Para Five is a group of any 5 open water swims at least 1 mile (1.6 km) in distance that has been completed by swimmers who are physically or mentally disabled. The Para Five can include any 5 different open water swims in Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and/or Oceania.
“It would be great to see more disabled athletes enter more open water swims around the world, whether they were wetsuits or not,” explains Warneken. “There are so many opportunities. Whether they wear wetsuits or not, it is simply important to get out in the open water and challenge and enjoy yourself.”
Verification can include official race results from an open water swimming event or certification by a governing body such as the International Ice Swimming Association, Channel Swimming Association, Catalina Channel Swimming Federation, British Long Distance Swimming Association, Irish Long Distance Swimming Association, Channel Swimming & Piloting Federation, Cape Long Distance Swimming Association, Farallon Islands Swimming Association, Lake Tahoe Swimming Society, Santa Barbara Channel Swimming Association, Vancouver Open Water Swimming Association, Northeast Kingdom Open Water Swimming Association, Japan International Open Water Swimming Association, Tsugaru Channel Swimming Association, Menorca Channel Swimming Association, Association of Korea Open Water Swimming, Universal Marathon Cold Swimming Association, Lake Ontario Swim Team, Dubai Open Water Swimming Sports Association, Great Lakes Open Water Swimming Association, Massachusetts Open Water Swimming Association, World Open Water Swimming Association, ACNEG (Asociacion de cruce a nado del Estrecho de Gibraltar), Fédération Internationale de Natation Amateur, Tsugaru Strait Swimming Association, Hawaiian Channel Swim Association, Kaiwi Channel Association, Lake Erie Open Water Swimming Association, International Winter Swimming Association, Solo Swims of Ontario, or any local, regional, national or international governing body, federation or association.
Swimmers may wear wetsuits or any other equipment if they wish. If swimmers wear only non-porous, non-neoprene swimwear and nothing other than a swim cap, goggles and ear plugs, then they are included in the Bioprene Para Five.
Some members of the Para Five include Salvatore Cimmino of Italy [shown on left and below], Philippe Croizon of France, and Andrew Smilley of the Cayman Islands. There will be thousands of other individuals who will qualify over the next generation if Jonty Warnekan’s vision comes to fruition.
Photo shows Jonty Warneken at the moment of his inspiration for the Para Five as he explains the concept to Steven Munatones of the World Open Water Swimming Association at the 2014 Global Open Water Swimming Conference.
Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association