Cutoff Date and Time for Voting is February 1, 2020 at 12:00 am (Pacific time zone)


Vote in All Four Categories

The World Open Water Swimming Association is pleased to present the 2019 WOWSA Award Nominees. The nominees are presented in the following four categories:
Please Note: Results will be announced on February 1, 2020 at The Daily News of Open Water Swimming.

2019 WOWSA Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year Nominees

  1. Blind Vision by James Pittar (Australia)
  2. FINIS Stream (USA)
  3. FORM Swim Goggles + Polar® OH1/OH1+ Heart Rate Sensor (Canada)
  4. Kayaking & Coaching by Dan Simonelli (USA)
  5. Ocean Triple R: Remote Recovery Rescue by Nuala Moore (Ireland)
  6. Oceanman Series Experience (global)
  7. Open Water: San Francisco. Calendar 2020 by Zina Deretsky (USA)
  8. Prolific Promotions by Elaine Howley (USA)
  9. Slow Swimming by Stuart Hamilton (UK)
  10. Swimming Easter Island by John McCarthy (South Africa)
  11. Tampa Bay Frogman Swim (USA)
  12. The Ancient Seven Seas by David Rich (global)
  13. Travesía Interminable by Antonio Argüelles (Mexico) and Adam Skolnick (USA)
  14. WAVE Drowning Detection Systems by Mark Caron (USA)
1. Blind Vision by James Pittar (Australia)
Blind Vision is the autobiography of James Pittar, an Australian tax official who is an International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Swimmer. Pittar is not only a prolific marathon swimmer with myriad channel crossings around the world, but he also has raised over $100,000 on behalf of the Fred Hollows Foundation and works for the Rainbow Club Foundation which teaches disabled kids how to swim. Blind Vision shares his story from his sighted youth to becoming completely blind by his early 30’s due to the degeneration of his retina. For telling the hopes, dreams and challenges – both on dryland and in the open water – of a most incredible human being, for describing many of his aquatic adventures in as-yet-untold details, and for sharing the mindset of daring to be different, the autobiography of James Pittar, Blind Vision, is a worthy nominee for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
2. FINIS Stream (USA)
Have you ever been bored swimming? FINIS has the answer…
With their patent on bone conduction speakers, FINIS has changed the swimming experience with vibrating speakers at the perfect frequency to provide crystal clear surround-sound, underwater. Unlike mp3 models, the FINIS Stream allows you to pair with a smartwatch to stream music, audio books, or podcasts directly from Spotify, Apple Music or other services.
For developing a market-leading technology that enhances the swimming experience, the FINIS Stream is a worthy nominee for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
3. FORM Swim Goggles + Polar® OH1/OH1+ Heart Rate Sensor (Canada)
Goggles have not significantly changed over the decades. Different form factors, polarized lens, gasket materials and shapes have made goggles more comfortable for swimmers, but a paradigm shift has not occurred – but FORM Swim Goggles has put swim pacing metrics right inside its goggle lenses, making valuable swim data easily and conveniently within easy viewing while swimming. But FORM even went further driving technology advancement by pairing its revolutionary goggles with Polar® OH1/OH1+ Heart Rate Sensor that enables swimmers to see their pulse rate in real-time within their goggles. For radically transforming modern-day goggle technology to benefit swimmers of all ages and abilities, for providing a easy-to-use FORM Swim App that enables post-swim data downloading and analyses by swimmer and coach, and for enabling swimmers to better understand their own physiology in real time in order to train more intelligently, FORM Swim Goggles + Polar® OH1/OH1+ Heart Rate Sensor + FORM Swim App is a worthy nominee for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
4. Kayaking & Coaching by Dan Simonelli (USA)
On the west coast of the United States, it is a rare day when Dan Simonelli is not coaching or kayaking out in the open water. He guides, escorts, educates, inspires, assists, feeds, and mentors swimmers of all ages and abilities. He also made an impromptu rescue that saved the life of a swimmer in high surf against the reef of the La Jolla Cove. During 2019, he coached or crewed 43 marathon swims, oftenkayaking not for just an hour or two, but typically anywhere from 8-16 hours on Catalina Channel crossings and other marathon swims. He is the go-to guy on the West Coast who is always in demand from Hawaii to Dover. He concurrently runs the Open Water Swim Academy for teaching and training open water swimmers, no matter what their starting point or final goals are. For being a reliable and knowledgeable coach, crew chief, lifeguard and escort kayaker for recreational, masters and competitive swimmers, for sharing technical, environmental, operational, logistical, mental and physical advice for open water swimmers, for calmly guiding swimmers from all walks of life in all kinds of conditions, the kayaking and coaching services provided by Dan Simonelli of the Open Water Swim Academy is a worthy nominee for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
5. Ocean Triple R: Remote Recovery Rescue by Nuala Moore (Ireland)
Nuala Moore is the ideal person to focus on the nitty-gritty details of open water swimming in high-risk locations, especially in cold water conditions. The Zero Ice Swimmer created a unique educational program – Ocean Triple R – that focuses on the recovery and rescue of swimmers in remote venues. Its mission is to create awareness and share expertise on safety plans, procedures and policies for swimmers facing extreme situational issues. The unique platform enables rescue services, providers, athletes and medical staff to work together and increase awareness of the risks and challenges presented by the cold water environment. For identifying, studying and resolving myriad safety issues that extreme swimmers can possibly face in remote locations, for putting together a comprehensive educational program that includes cold immersion emergencies and safety programs that is recognized by World Extreme Medicine, Ocean Extreme Medicine, Mountain Medicine UK and Rescue Emergency Care throughout Europe, and for promoting the awareness and acceptance of these oft-misunderstood medical and rescue concepts that can directly impact swimmer’s survival, Ocean Triple R: Remote Recovery Rescue by Nuala Moore is a worthy nominee for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
6. Oceanman Series Experience (global)
The Oceanman Series has analyzed and taken the best open water event ideas from around the world and creatively packaged and executed them in beautiful 19 scenic locations around the world. Competitions with multiple race distances in Mexico (Yucatán + Cozumel), Bali, Alanya (Turkey), Spain (Costa Azahar + Benidorm), Ecuador, Russia (Sochi + Moscow), Italy (Polignano and Orta Lake), Greece, Lausanne, Colombia, France, Ukraine, Thailand and Cyrus culminate in a world championship in Cancún, Mexico, and include a comprehensive coaching certification program and very festive post-race celebrations. For organizing an exciting, enjoyable global open water swimming series under a cleverly branded umbrella for swimmers of all ages, abilities and backgrounds, for expanding into how to teach athletes how to reach their potential through seminars, a certification program, and longer UltraOceanman races for swimmers who want to greater challenges, and for designing the entire experience from the perspective of the open water swimmer who wants more, the Oceanman Series experience is a worthy nominee for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
7. Open Water: San Francisco. Calendar 2020 by Zina Deretsky (USA)
Zina Deretsky is a board-certified medical illustrator and a science & technology illustrator with a passion for the open water that runs deep. The preferred swimming venue of the South End Rowing Club member is the famed Aquatic Park where she has swum thousands of kilometers over the last decade. She creatively merged her artistic talents and vision with her aquatic pursuits to develop a beautiful wall calendar with 12 illustrations made with Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop of classic locations around San Francisco Bay. For creating 12 iconic swimming locations around San Francisco Bay in a visually dynamic style including Alcatraz Island, the Bay Bridge, Aquatic Park, Muni Pier, Mount Tam, Fort Mason, St. Francis Yacht Club, Golden Gate Bridge, China Beach, Mile Rock Lighthouse, Cliff House, and Ocean Beach, for combining her professional talents with her aquatic pursuits, for creating a wall calendar that can be enjoyed 365 days a year by open water swimmers, Zina Deretsky’s Open Water: San Francisco. Calendar 2020 is a worthy nominee for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
8. Prolific Promotions by Elaine Howley (USA)
Ice Miler, marathon swimmer, event director, Triple Crowner, ice swimming second, channel swimming historian, escort crew, feeder, pace swimmer, logistics planner, operations chief, mentor, coach, and writer. Elaine Howley has done everything in the open water as a swimmer herself and as a volunteer for others. She has witnessed some of the most epic swims in history and her talent for documenting and explaining the sport and its luminaries in the written word is unparalleled in modern times. From Captain Matthew Webb and Gertrude Ederle to Sarah Thomas and Ross Edgley, Howley is among open water swimming’s most prolific writers and foremost historians. For constantly promoting the sport, its history and its most celebrated and heroic athletes in beautiful prose, for writing a plethora of highly educational, easy-to-read articles on every niche of the sport in leading aquatic and specialty publications from Outdoor Swimming to SWIMMER Magazine, for her extensive research of esoteric facts that is augmented by her introspective personal experience in the open water swimming, Elaine Howley’s body of exhaustive research and wide-ranging articles is a worthy nominee for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
9. Slow Swimming by Stuart Hamilton (UK)
Titles, medals, cash, awards, prizes, psyche sheets, timing chips, results, maximum cut-off times are par for the course with open water swimming competitions. But Stuart Hamilton boiled down open water swimming to its essence: enabling swimmers of all abilities and ages to experience the pure pleasure of Mother Nature and swimming in the open bodies of water. Then he added a very social picnic and cake sharing element to the event and the Slow Swimming concept took off. With 70% of its participants women with an average age of 45, Slow Swimming events in Bradford-on-Avon, Cambridge and Dedham Vale attract thousands of happy, fully satisfied, fully satiated swimmers and their supporters. For empowering and enabling people of all ages and abilities to fully immerse themselves enjoyable and without stress in meandering rivers, for creating an ambiance of highly social and interactive outdoor swimming among like-minded people, and for promoting an enjoyable means of healthful exercise with the added bonus of sharing cakes and having a picnic among thousands, Slow Swimming by Stuart Hamilton is a worthy nominee for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
10. Swimming Easter Island by John McCarthy (South Africa)
Easter Island sits remotely out in the southeastern Pacific Ocean, located 3,512 km from Chile. Isolate and so far away from her native South Africa, Sarah Ferguson was drawn to the challenge of swimming 60 kilometers around the World Heritage Site. She was accompanied by a large crew that included surfer and ocean waterman John McCarthy, a fellow Durbanite. The renowned author wrote Swimming Easter Island, an 88-page book that gives his colorful first-person account and backstory of her 19 hour 8 minute journey where he served as her lead planner, navigator and safety officer. The book retells the swim from various perspectives giving insight that can come only from an eyewitness who understood the dangers and risks she faced. For bringing to life this harrowing solo swim with dramatic photos, maps and illustrations, for describing the core reasons for doing this swim as an eco-warrior and an ambassador for Plastics Ocean International, and for documenting an unprecedented Guinness World Record marathon swim for subsequent challengers and future generations, the book Swimming Easter Island by John McCarthy is a worthy nominee for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
11. Tampa Bay Frogman Swim (USA)
Charity swims attract all kinds of open water swimmers, from passionate environmentalists and those who remember the namesake of the event to local athletes and those who are simply drawn to the cause. The Tampa Bay Frogman Swim is supported by a wide spectrum of athletes, working exceptionally hard to honor and support the event’s beneficiary: the Navy SEAL Foundation. The 5 km swim in Tampa Bay, Florida is the world’s highest grossing charity swim per swimmer that raised over $725,000 in its 2019 event with only 164 swimmers. Because 100% of the proceeds support wounded and fallen Navy SEALs and their families, the success of this event is off the charts. Its start is solemn with a dignified military ceremony that is reflective and dramatic. The swim is not easy with swirling currents and low water temperatures, symbolic of the challenges that Navy SEALs face. Its finish is festive and celebratory. For the all-volunteer professional organization of the event by retired military officers, for the safe production of a challenging swim that has since expanded throughout the United States, for the selfless and extraordinarily generous support of military personnel and their families, the Tampa Bay Frogman Swim in Florida is a worthy nominee for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
12. The Ancient Seven Seas by David Rich (global)
The Oceans Seven is a difficult challenge that has attracted some of the world’s foremost channel swimmers – only 18 have completed it to date. A new swim challenge, the Ancient Seven Seas offers a similar global concept with the goal of inspiring and expanding participation through more accessible marathon swims. At a minimum of 10 kilometers in each of the Ancient Seven Seas (Mediterranean Sea, Adriatic Sea, Aegean Sea, Black Sea, Red Sea, Arabian Sea, and North Sea), this unassisted solo challenge takes swimmers through the cradle of civilization with different cultures, religions and views. Lewis Pugh’s original Seven Swims in the Seven Seas for 1 Reason, completed in 2014, was its inspiration. Swimmers can select and create their own preferred courses in the Seven Seas and do not necessarily need to be shore-to-shore or point-to-point. For building bridges with other cultures while interacting around a common love of the oceans and swimming; for creating a serious yet accessible marathon adventure, in terms of time and training, that enables more swimmers to participate; and for advancing the long history and concept of the Seven Seas, The Ancient Seven Seas challenge proposed by David Rich is a worthy nominee for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
13. Travesía Interminable by Antonio Argüelles (Mexico) and Adam Skolnick (USA)
His life reads like an adventure novel; his story could be made into a movie: a young charismatic boy from Mexico with an entrepreneurial talent finds his way to the halls of Stanford University in search of going to the Olympics. But his aquatic dreams are put on hold – temporarily – as he ventures out in the world and eventually finds success back to Mexico. His book, Travesía Interminable, or The Forever Swim in English, was written by Antonio Argüelles about his fascinating experiences en route to achieving the Oceans Seven at the age of 58. The 312-page book, co-authored by Adam Skolnick, describes his successes and the largely unseen obstacles that he had to overcome. For sharing his inner thoughts, worries and challenges, for describing his colorful, relentlessly goal-setting life, and for becoming the oldest man to achieve the Oceans Seven, the book Travesía Interminable by Antonio Argüelles and Adam Skolnick is a worthy nominee for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
14. WAVE Drowning Detection Systems by Mark Caron (USA)
Lifeguards, divers, kayakers, paddleboarders, safety boats, tow floats, Swim Angels, rest pontoons…the open water swimming community has developed a comprehensive safety net for its participants over the decades. But Mark Caron and the team at WAVE Drowning Detection Systems have significantly widened the safety net with a reliable, simple, easy-to-set up, easy-to-use anywhere systems for widescale adoption in lake, sea, bay and ocean swims. The WAVE alert is set off if a swimmer has been submerged for too long, so that quicklifesaving intervention is started. For augmenting current open water safety systems with simplicity and reliable technology, for dramatically changing the aquatic safety profile with a simple tracker that is attached to swimmers’ goggles and immediately alerts safety personnel if a swimmer goes underwater too long, and for developing a system that can be implemented at any open water venue, WAVE Drowning Detection Systems by Mark Caron is a worthy nominee for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
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2018 wowsa awards

Vote in All Four Categories

The World Open Water Swimming Association is pleased to present the 2018 WOWSA Award Nominees. The nominees are presented in the following four categories: