Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.
The WOWSA Awards are an annual selection of outstanding individuals and offerings in the following categories: World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year, Woman of the Year, Performance of the Year, and Offering of the Year.
There were innumerable outstanding solo, tandem and relay achievements performed in the open water in 2017. “There were so many possible award winners and nominees in the World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year category that is meant to honor the efforts and swims that (1) best embody the spirit of open water swimming, (2) are representative of the sense of adventure, tenacity and perseverance that open water swimmers are known for, and (3) have demonstrated the most impressive open water swimming performance of the year,” explains Steven Munatones.
Among the tens of thousands of worthy possibilities around the globe, 13 men were nominated for the 2017 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year Award:
1. Evgenij Pop Acev (Macedonia)
2. Antonio Argüelles (Mexico)
3. John Batchelder (USA)
4. Guillermo Bértola (Argentina)
5. Avram Iancu (Romania)
6. Stéphane Lecat (France)
7. Dr. Lucky Meisenheimer (USA)
8. Lynton Mortensen (Australia)
9. Simone Ruffini (Italy)
10. Petar Stoychev (Bulgaria)
11. Sayed Ihsan Taheri (Afghanistan)
12. Ferry Weertman (Netherlands)
13. Philip Yorke (Great Britain)
But with a life worthy of a Hollywood movie, Antonio Argüelles was voted as the 2017 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year for the second time in his career, in a year that he became the oldest individual to complete the Oceans Seven.
Steven Munatones describes the active aquapreneur who has long devoted his life to inspiring and educating others in his native Mexico. “Antonio Argüelles achieved the Oceans Seven at the age of 58, 20 years older than the average age of the other swimmers who have accomplished the same feat. His final two swims, celebrated throughout his native Mexico and respected in the channel swimming world, were tough: a 11 hour 20 minute 23 km crossing of the Cook Strait in New Zealand and a 13 hour 32 minute 35 km crossing of the North Channel between Ireland and Scotland.
He trained very hard for both, traveling frequently to San Francisco from his home in Mexico City to train in Aquatic Park while balancing all kinds of corporate, governmental and philanthropic activities. He is non-stop.“
While the first half of the year, he spent largely acclimating to cold water and focused on completing the last two difficult channels for the Oceans Seven, he spent much of the second half of 2017 speaking, taking media interviews, appearing on television, mentoring school children and inspiring people of all ages throughout Mexico.
Everywhere he goes, he is willing to share his indomitable spirit with a broad smile and a deep empathy.
His speeches are given in eloquent Spanish or fluent English – a result of his drive to train among fast American swimmers as a teenager. He moved to California as a teenager in 1976 and later shined academically as he graduated from Stanford University. Along the way, he wrote several books on education in addition to writing A cada brazada: el azul interminable (At Each Stroke: The Endless Blue) in which he retells his experience of crossing the English Channel. He also worked for the Mexican government as the Undersecretary for both the Ministry of Trade (Secretaría de Comercio y Fomento Industrial) and Ministry of Finance (Secretaría de Hacienda y Crédito Público) and founded Nueva Escuela Tecnológica in 2004.
In addition to marathon runs, Ironman triathlons, two Triple Crown achievements, and International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame induction, his 7 Oceans Seven swims included:
* English Channel in 1999 in 18 hours 19 minutes and in 2009 in 12 hours 54 minutes at the age of 50
* Catalina Channel in California in 1999 in 12 hours 25 minutes, in 2008 in 13 hours 10 minutes and in 2009 in 10 hours 25 minutes
* Strait of Gibraltar in 2015 in 4 hours 23 minutes
* Tsugaru Channel in Japan in 2015 in 12 hours 38 minutes
* Molokai Channel in Hawaii in 2016 in 23 hours 18 minutes at the age of 56
* Cook Strait in New Zealand in 2017 in 11 hours 20 minutes at the age of 57
* North Channel in 2017 between Ireland and Scotland in 13 hours 32 minutes at the age of 58
“With his year-long performance as he balanced responsibilities both in and out of the water, Antonio exemplifies exactly what a World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year does. He not only embodies the spirit of open water swimming and possesses the sense of adventure, tenacity and perseverance that open water swimmers are known for, but he also very positively influenced the world of open water swimming and everyone he touched with his swims and personality.”
Argüelles joins the previous World Open Water Swimming Men of the Year:
* 2008: Randy Nutt, U.S.A.
* 2009: Petar Stoychev, Bulgaria
* 2010: Marcos Díaz, Dominican Republic
* 2011: Jamie Patrick, U.S.A.
* 2012: Stephen Redmond, Ireland
* 2013: Pádraig Mallon, Ireland
* 2014: Henri Kaarma, Estonia
* 2015: Antonio Argüelles Díaz-González, Mexico
* 2016: Nejib Belhedi, Tunisia
* 2017: Antonio Argüelles Díaz-González, Mexico
For the 2017 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year Award, see here.
For the 2017 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year Award, see here.
For the 2017 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year Award, see here.
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