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The nominees for the World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year are always an heroic and impressive group of swims.

The WOWSA Awards are not necessarily for the best athletes, but are meant to honor the men and women who:

  • best embody the spirit of open water swimming,
  • possess the sense of adventure, tenacity and perseverance that open water swimmers are known for, and
  • have most positively influenced the world of open water swimming in calendar year 2014.

The inspirational group of 2014 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year nominees include:

1. Beyond Avalon by Dan Henry, Dave Speier, William Miller, Steve Miller, Lee Grove, Dana Selles, Mark Zambon, Penny Nagel, Chris Gibson, Jon Rodley, Jonathan Hands, Nick Jeffery, Terry Hirt (U.S.A.)
2. Curaçao Channel Crossing by Niko Kluyver, André Nottelman, Erwin Ruijsink (Curaçao)
3. Cyprus Israel Swim by Udi Erell, Doron Amosi, Ben Enosh, Ori Sela, Oded Rahav, Luc Chetboun (Israel)
4. Diomede Islands Swim by Alexandr Brylin and Grigorii Prokopchuk (Russia)
5. English Channel Crossing by Cyril Baldock (Australia)
6. Great Lake Adventure by Vicki Keith, Abi Tripp, Nick Streicher, Michelle Sempowski, Natasha Dobson, Harley Bolton, Natalie Lambert, Jenna Lambert (Canada)
7. International Winter Swimming Festival Argentina by Matías Ola (Argentina)
8. Lake Ontario Crossing by Trinity Arsenault (Canada)
9. Madagascar Swim by Thane Guy Williams and Jonno Proudfoot (South Africa)
10. Manhattan Island Marathon Swim by Kristian Rutford (U.S.A.)
11. Mallorca 360° Circumnavigation Swim by Richard Krugel (South Africa)
12. Monterey Bay Crossing by Patti Bauernfeind (U.S.A.)
13. Prison Island Swims by Jacques Tuset (France)
14. Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming by Charlotte Samuels (U.S.A.)
15. U.S. Lifeguarding Champions by Monmouth County Lifeguards (U.S.A.)

1. Beyond Avalon by Dan Henry, Dave Speier, William Miller, Steve Miller, Lee Grove, Dana Selles, Mark Zambon, Penny Nagel, Chris Gibson, Jon Rodley, Jonathan Hands, Nick Jeffery, Terry Hirt (U.S.A.)
The crossing of the Catalina Channel is 20.2-mile mixture of currents, tides, winds, and marine life that cuts straight across from Santa Catalina Island to the nearest point on the mainland. But that was not enough for Beyond Avalon, a team of 11 San Diego-based swimmers under the guidance of pilots Nick Jeffery and Terry Hirt. They created a unique spin on a traditional channel crossing. They aimed to cut a tangent from Santa Catalina Island to San Diego, a distance of 122 km (76 miles). Far out from the California shoreline, there was plenty of marine life to deal with. But as the team raised awareness and funds for the Warrior Foundation – Freedom Station, the team also encountered not one, not two, but several sharks far, far from shore. For their creativity to design and attempt a unique spin on a traditional channel crossing, for their efforts to swim without disturbing the naturally scary denizens of the deep, for their vow to attempt another crossing after this year’s attempt was cut short at 64 km (40 miles), Beyond Avalon with Dan Henry, Dave Speier, William Miller, Steve Miller, Lee Grove, Dana Selles, Mark Zambon, Penny Nagel, Chris Gibson, Jon Rodley, Jonathan Hands, Nick Jeffery and Terry Hirt is a worthy nominee for the 2014 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.

2. Curaçao Channel Crossing by Niko Kluyver, André Nottelman, Erwin Ruijsink (Curaçao)
In a part of the world when open water swimming is common, but channel swimming is not, Niko Kluyver, André Nottelman and Erwin Ruijsink all accomplished the unprecedented. The three men planned a crossing between Curaçao and Klein Curaçao and had to find officials, boatmen and support crew in a country where none existed before. The men researched and recruited, planned and prepared, for the longest and most dangerous swims of their lives. But weather pushed their windows back and a tropical disease halted Ruijsink’s attempt. The trio hung together and kept training and waiting for a break in the weather. For their enthusiasm in pioneering a swim in unchartered territory, for their collective passion that generated local interest in the sport, for their courageous crossing of the Curaçao Channel, the channel swim of Niko Kluyver, André Nottelman and Erwin Ruijsink is a worthy nominee for the 2014 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.

3. Cyprus Israel Swim by Udi Erell, Doron Amosi, Ben Enosh, Ori Sela, Oded Rahav, Luc Chetboun (Israel)
Six valiant men and their tireless support crew went for it back in 2013. Their goal? To swim an unprecedented relay from Cyprus in the Mediterranean Sea to their native Israel. Udi Erell, Doron Amosi, Ben Enosh, Ori Sela, Oded Rahav and Luc Chetboun gave it their best shot. For 60 hours, the optimistic, visionary team struggled against the high seas with 25-knot winds and waves building past 2 meters. But Mother Nature won round one when safety became a major concern. But the men never gave up and attempted an even longer 377 km course from Cyprus to Israel in October. Despite security concerns in Gaza, the pioneers braved the seas and finished in a cumulative 123 hours 10 minutes, swimming through 5 full days and nights to set history’s 6-person distance relay record. For their courage and commitment to each other, for their stamina and strength at sea, for their desire to help raise awareness for clean seas, the Cyprus Israel Swim is a worthy nominee for the 2014 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.

4. Diomede Islands Swim by Alexandr Brylin and Grigorii Prokopchuk (Russia)
Following in the wake of Lynne Cox, 38-year-old Alexandr Brylin and 45-year-old Grigorii Prokopchuck attempted to replicate Cox’s iconic swim in 1987 between the Diomede Islands in the Bering Strait. As a charity swim for Mad Swimmer to benefit sick children in Russia and South Africa, the Russian pair of ice swimmers tackled the 5.6 km course as a tandem swim. Brylin, swimming breaststroke, and Prokopchuck, swimming freestyle, stayed relatively close to one another, but were swept off their intended course from Little Diomede in the U.S.A. to Big Diomede (Ratmanova Island) in Russia. For their respective crossing under the guidance of Viktor Godlevskiy of 1 hour 57 minutes for Prokopchuk and 2 hours 8 minutes for Brylin, for boldly swimming in 3-6°C water in swirling currents and eddies, for serving as the protagonists of a documentary film Arctic: The Present and The Future and as scientific subject matter for research on cold water immersion, Alexandr Brylin and Grigorii Prokopchuk’s tandem Diomede Islands Swim is a worthy nominee for the 2014 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.

5. English Channel Crossing by Cyril Baldock (Australia)
Not only did Cyril Baldock break one of the most difficult records in the channel swimming world, but he also completed his swim-for-the-ages extremely quickly. Baldock did a fast 12 hour 45 minute crossing from England to France and broke the world record for the oldest individual to complete a traverse of the English Channel. This was Baldock’s second record in the English Channel; the first came in 1993 when he was a member of the four-way Sun Rice Australia relay and took 42 hours 11 minutes to swim between English and France 4 consecutive times. 29 years after his first crossing, Baldock looked a man one-third his age. Humorous, cheerful and optimistic, the life member of Bondi Surf Bathers’ Life Saving Club and 7-time national surf-swim and rescue/resuscitation champion, is a man comfortable in the sea. For his speed and stamina, for his comfort in rough waters at an advanced age, for his inspirational swim at the age of 70, Cyril Baldock’s crossing of the English Channel is a worthy nominee for the 2014 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.

6. Great Lake Adventure by Vicki Keith, Abi Tripp, Nick Streicher, Michelle Sempowski, Natasha Dobson, Harley Bolton, Natalie Lambert, Jenna Lambert (Canada)
With dreams of swimming 305 km (189 miles) from west to east across Lake Ontario, an 8-person Canadian team led by Vicki Keith was repeatedly thwarted by weather, winds and unexpectedly cold water temperatures. But the group kept training, waiting and wondering when their window of opportunity would reveal itself. The members of the Great Lake Adventure maintained their faith in themselves, their teammates, and the weather conditions, never forgetting Keith’s advice to seek Big Hairy Audacious Goals and her personal example to Dream, Believe, Laugh, Achieve, and Inspire. They changed plans and adjusted courses in Lake Ontario to ultimately complete 65 km in 24 hours by a team that included 4 disabled swimmers and 5 teenagers. For proving that success can be achieved under unexpected conditions, for completing a 24-hour non-stop relay under difficult conditions, for never giving up their dreams and hopes to mark their mark in Lake Ontario, the Great Lake Adventure with Vicki Keith, Abi Tripp, Nick Streicher, Michelle Sempowski, Natasha Dobson, Harley Bolton, Natalie Lambert, and Jenna Lambert is a worthy nominee for the 2014 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.

7. International Winter Swimming Festival Argentina by Matías Ola (Argentina)
The crème-de-la-crème of the world’s fittest and finest ice swimmers showed up for the inaugural International Winter Swimming Festival, spread out among 3 scenic locations around Argentina. Host and organizer Matías Ola rolled the red carpet for the veteran ice swimmers from England, Ireland, South Africa, Estonia, Latvia, Chile, Argentina and Australia. The 3-event cold-water extravaganza was the first of its kind in the Americas, where the series showcased some the world’s best extreme athletes in Puerto Madero in Buenos Aires, Lago Potrerillos in Mendoza, and El Calafate who were surrounded by glaciers and immersed in water between 0-5ºC. For expanding the global community of ice swimmers to South America and making it a year-round aquatic discipline, for its gracious hospitality of the international community, for Matías Ola’s selection of stunningly picturesque venues to showcase the sport, the International Winter Swimming Festival Argentina is a worthy nominee for the 2014 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.

8. Lake Ontario Crossing by Trinity Arsenault (Canada)
Canada seems to attract the young while creating heroines of the open water. From 16-year-old Marilyn Bell in 1954 to 14-year-old Annaleise Carr in 2012, Lake Ontario in particular is the marathon swimming Fountain of Youth. Where young Canadians can test themselves along an always dynamically turbulent 52 km (32-mile) traditional Marilyn Bell course from the mouth of the Niagara River to the Marilyn Bell Park in Toronto, Trinity Arsenault became the youngest person in history at the age of 14 years 71 days to successfully cross Lake Ontario. She took 23 hours 19 minutes in a north-to-south swim that required her to reverse directions twice in order to dodge oncoming thunderstorms. Arsenault raised money for the Canadian Tire Jumpstart Program that caters to underprivileged children. For her youthful enthusiasm to take on a challenging marathon swim and never give up despite having to purposefully swim off-course, for her efforts to raise money and awareness for kids who cannot afford to participate in athletic programs, for her successful crossing that replicated the swim that her mother swam in 2011, Trinity Arsenault’s Lake Ontario Crossing is a worthy nominee for the 2014 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.

9. Madagascar Swim by Thane Guy Williams and Jonno Proudfoot (South Africa)
Swimming between countries is a romantic goal sought by a select few. The English Channel and Strait of Gibraltar are the known standards, but few ever imagined swimming between Mozambique and Madagascar in the Indian Ocean. Crossing 458 km of untested, unchartered ocean on the rugged east coast of Africa was an outlandish goal of Thane Guy Williams and Jonno Proudfoot. But the South African daredevil duo are dreamers as well as doers. They researched an audacious course and worked logistically and financially, physically and mentally to complete a 24-day unassisted stage swim where they swam for 155 hours in the turbulent Mozambique Channel through abundant marine life, innumerable equipment breakdowns, and two cyclones. For their successful execution of an unprecedented country-to-country traverse where they swam nearly an average of 7 hours per day, for raising funds for Cipla Miles For Smiles as their chosen charity, Thane Guy Williams and Jonno Proudfoot’s tandem Madagascar Swim is a worthy nominee for the 2014 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.

10. Manhattan Island Marathon Swim by Kristian Rutford (U.S.A.)
What comes around, goes around for Kristian Rutford. The American completed his 20th circumnavigation of Manhattan Island in 2014. His track record in the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim is a testament and tribute to Rutford’s passion for distance swimming. But living in Nebraska in the middle of America far, far away from oceans and fast-flowing rivers, Rutford is an unlikely record-setter. From his land-locked location to annual visits to the Big Apple, he has completed the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim in 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992 (fastest circumnavigation at the time in 5 hours 53 minutes), 1993 (race winner), 1995 (first reverse circumnavigation in 17 hours 48 minutes), 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014. For his longevity in the sport, for his continued joy in taking on marathon challenges, for completing an unprecedented 20th loop around Manhattan Island in New York City, Kristian Rutford’s MIMS is a worthy nominee for the 2014 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.

11. Mallorca 360° Circumnavigation Swim by Richard Krugel (South Africa)
Open water swimmers can expect the unexpected. Richard Krugel did so for 22 days during his circumnavigation swim around Mallorca, Spain. Everything seemed to hit Krugel as he made his way around Mallorca in a 276.5 km solo stage swim. The unrelenting heat, an injured shoulder on Day One, a stomach virus en route, the constant scourge of jellyfish, the turbulent chop around the peninsulas, unexpected weather patterns, constant wind shifts, powerfully strong oncoming currents, the dodging of tidal flows and impatient cruise liners, and curious marine life made the unexpected the expected on a daily basis. He attempted the pioneering 95 hour 58 minute circumnavigation around the beautiful Spanish island as a remembrance and tribute to his brother whose passing served as a catalyst for the unprecedented swim. For his composed nature and calm patience throughout the unassisted swim, for his charitable efforts on behalf of the local children’s Fundacion Allen Graham Charity, Richard Krugel’s Mallorca 360° is a worthy nominee for the 2014 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.

12. Monterey Bay Crossing by Patti Bauernfeind (U.S.A.)
Three times was no charm for Patti Bauernfeind across the 28-mile (45 km) Monterey Bay. For 34 years, no one had replicated Cindy Cleveland’s once-in-a-generation non-wetsuit, non-protective gear swim across Monterey Bay. Bauernfeind, an accomplished channel swimmer in other venues around the world, tried and tried again and again. It was not the cold, the currents or the distance that defeated her. It was the swarms of jellyfish that she encountered and the venom that she endured which was too much for her. Failure to reach the other shore seemed to be her only option. But on her fourth attempt after innumerable false starts under the guidance of Joel Wilson and her tireless crew, and lathered up with Safe Sea jellyfish lotion, the 47-year-old finally swam from shore-to-shore in the northern California waters after 13 painful hours. For her never-give-up mindset and dedication over the years to see her goal to fruition, for her willingness to raise money and awareness for Trust in Education, for her successful battle against the elements, Patti Bauernfeind’s crossing of the Monterey Bay is a worthy nominee for the 2014 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.

13. Prison Island Swims by Jacques Tuset (France)
With so many iconic venues to choose from, Jacques Tuset has swum across channels and lakes throughout Europe to showcase his talents. From Lac Léman in France to Kalamata in Greece, he has proven himself over and over again. But he has found his niche in the Prison Island Swims where he leads the world in escaping from the famed prison islands to the nearby shorelines. Encouraged by its originator Ned Denison, Tuset is on his way to complete all the Prison Island Swims with Alcatraz Island (USA), Le Château d’If (France), Fort Boyard (France), Île de Gorée (Senegal), Robben Island (South Africa), Spike Island (Ireland), Rottnest Island (Australia) and Fort Royal de Sainte-Marguerite (France) done and checked off. For his focus on a unique niche within the open water swimming world, for his enthusiastic and joyful promotion of these Prison Island Swims, Jacques Tuset’s Prison Island Swims is a worthy nominee for the 2014 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.

14. Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming by Charlotte Samuels (U.S.A.)
English Channel, Catalina Channel, Manhattan Island cast large shadows in the marathon swimming world. These are the proving grounds sought by many. Charlotte Samuels, a 16-year-old high school student, achieved this monument of marathoning with two impressive 20+ hour channel crossings that captured the attention of the American media. She addressed inquiries with mature aplomb and unusual maturity as the youngest person to achieve the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming with her circumnavigation of Manhattan Island, her crossing of the English Channel, and her crossing of the Catalina Channel. For her ability to eloquently explain the trials and challenges of marathon swimming to people of all ages from school children to the New York media, for completing her chosen goal of completing the Triple Crown at a young age, for extraordinarily 20+ hour channel crossings without hesitation and unusual courage, Charlotte Samuels’ Triple Crown is a worthy nominee for the 2014 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.

15. U.S. Lifeguarding Champions by Monmouth County Lifeguards (U.S.A.)
Lifeguards are the epitome of watermen and waterwomen. They protect beach-goers and make rescues in all kinds of conditions. While the lifesavers of Australia, Hawaii and California are celebrated heroes of the shoreline, it was the men and women of the Monmouth County Chapter in New Jersey who turned heads and changed mindsets on the beach in 2014. The lifeguards who work a number of beaches along the Jersey Shore defeated their California rivals for the first time in a generation. Under the leadership of captain Mike Tomaino, the Monmouth County Chapter lifeguards snapped the 27-year reign of California to capture the 2014 Nautica United States Lifesaving Association National Lifeguard Championships in Virginia Beach, Virginia. For breaking an unprecedented dynasty, for bringing ocean glory to the Jersey Shore, for training for a Miracle On Water, for believing in themselves in the intense, multi-disciplined ocean competition, the national team championship of the Monmouth County Lifeguards is a worthy nominee of the 2014 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.

http://wowsa.org/vote

To vote, register here, courtesy of WOWSA.

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association