2019 WOWSA Award Winners Announced

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
* World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year
* World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year
* World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year

The 2019 WOWSA Awards winners are selected by the public in a global online poll where one vote is allowed by one computer/one person. A total of 63,583 votes were inputted and determined the following winners:

* World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year: Adherbal Treidler de Oliveira (Brazil)

* World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year: Mariel Hawley Dávila (Mexico)

* World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year: Roman Karkachev, Timur Falomkin, Andrey Zamyslov, Anton Kutuev (Russia)

* World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year: Travesía Interminable by Antonio Argüelles (Mexico) and Adam Skolnick (USA)

WOWSA founder Steven Munatones explains, “The nominees for the WOWSA Awards came from all over the world – where they swam all over the world: Brazil, Hong Kong, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Ireland, Japan, Romania, Bulgaria, Canada, Australia, India. USA, Mexico, Argentina, Italy, China, South Africa, Spain, Barbados, St. Lucia, Easter Island, North Macedonia, Russia, France, Hawaii, UK, Pitcairn Island, and Israel.

And these nominees are only the tip of the iceberg in terms of all the heroes and heroines in the sport of open water swimming that includes stage swimming, relays, charity swimming, winter swimming, professional marathon swimming, channel swimming, ice swimming, eco-swimming, wild swimming, adventure swimming and mass participation events.

There are so many iconic and inspirational swimmers in the sport from Sarah Thomas, who completed the first four-way English Channel solo crossing, to Cameron Bellamy who pioneered a 56 hour 55 minute swim from Barbados to St. Lucia in the Caribbean Sea.”

The nominees included Olympic gold medalist and leukemia survivor Maarten van der Weijden who raised the most amount of money of any solo swimmer in history to 82-year-old Mally Richards who has participated in 66 SPAR River Miles during his lengthy career in South Africa.

But votes came pouring in from all over the world as they honored Adherbal Treidler de Oliveira [shown above with Betina Lorscheitter] for not only surviving a scary shark attack, but also administering, promoting and organizing the 36 km Travessia do Leme ao Pontal Crossing along the coast of Rio de Janeiro.

Voters also recognized the feats of Mexico’s Mariel Hawley Dávila, an author, widow, attorney and motivational speaker has not only raised money for Quiero Sonreír in order to fund surgeries for children with cleft lips and palate, paying for oncological treatments for children with cancer, working with women in jail, and promoting health via Mexicanos Activos, but she also achieved the Oceans Seven with a 23 km Cook Strait crossing in 11 hours 45 minutes and completed a 32 km Los Cabos Open Water Acuarium in 10 hours 14 minutes in Mexico and published her first English-language book Like the Heart of the Sea: Always at Peace after completing her initial book, Días Azules about her marathon swimming exploits.

The Gulf of Finland Relay by Russian swimmers Roman Karkachev, Timur Falomkin, Andrey Zamyslov, and Anton Kutuev [shown above] was impressive and recognized in a very crowded field of unprecedented swims around the world. The foursome challenged themselves to a 25 km relay swim across the Gulf of Finland in late October. They did a total of seven 30-minute legs from Yelagin Island in St. Petersburg to Kotlin Island in the Baltic Sea. Each swimmer cumulatively swam 153 minutes in the water that started at 7°C and never rose above 9.6°C.


Travesía Interminable, a book co-authored by swimmer Antonio Argüelles and writer Adam Skolnick covers Argüelles’ life and experiences as he achieved the Oceans Seven.
The popular book delves into Antonio’s inner thoughts, vision, loves, worries, and challenges. His colorful, goal-setting life so full of achievements both in and out of the water actually masks the many obstacles that he had to overcome.

The recipients are warm-hearted, inspiring ambassadors who represent the best of the open water world,” said Munatones.

They are dedicated and passionate, talented and physically hardened. They are friendly and intelligent, strategic and fun-loving in their approach. They – and all the nominees – are the type of person who you would want as a friend, teammate, neighbor, coach or business partner.”

The 2019 WOWSA Awards nominees in each category, listed alphabetically, are as follows:

2019 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year Nominees:
1. Adherbal Treidler de Oliveira (Brazil)
2. Alex Fong Lik-sun (Hong Kong)
3. André Wiersig (Germany)
4. Attila Mányoki (Hungary)
5. Fergil Hesterman (Netherlands)
6. Florian Wellbrock (Germany)
7. Ger Kennedy (Ireland)
8. Masayuki Moriya (Japan)
9. Paul Georgescu (Romania)
10. Petar Stoychev (Bulgaria)
11. Robert McGlashan (Canada)
12. Thomas Pembroke (Australia)
13. Maarten van der Weijden (Netherlands)

2019 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year Nominees:
1. Alisa Fatum (Germany)
2. Ana Marcela Cunha (Brazil)
3. Bhakti Sharma (India)
4. Chloë McCardel (Australia)
5. Elizabeth Fry (USA)
6. Mariel Hawley Dávila (Mexico)
7. Nora Toledano Cadena (Mexico)
8. Pilar Geijo (Argentina)
9. Rachele Bruni (Italy)
10. Sarah Thomas (USA)
11. Susan Simmons (Canada)
12. Xin Xin (China)

2019 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year Nominees:
1. 66th River Mile by Mally Richards (South Africa)
2. 100 km Ocean Swim by Pablo Fernández Álvarez (Spain)
3. Barbados to St. Lucia 151 km Crossing by Cameron Bellamy (South Africa)
4. Easter Island Swim by Sarah Ferguson (South Africa)
5. Father-and-Daughter Marathon Swims by Jessi & Richard Harewicz (Canada)
6. FINA/CNSG Marathon Swim World Series Victory by Kristóf Rasovszky (Hungary)
7. FINA UltraMarathon Swim Series Victory by Evgenij Pop Acev (North Macedonia)
8. Grand Slam of Open Water Swimming by Marcia Cleveland (USA)
9. Gulf of Finland Relay by Roman Karkachev, Timur Falomkin, Andrey Zamyslov, Anton Kutuev (Russia)
10. Ice Kilometer World Record by Sven Elfferich (Netherlands)
11. Iron Iceman by Dr. Alexandre Fuzeau (France)
12. Maui Nui Swim by Becca Mann (Hawaii)
13. Oceans Seven by Jonathan Ratcliffe (UK)
14. Pitcairn Island Swim by Alex Kostich (USA)
15. Sea of Galilee Two-Way Crossing by Avishag Turek (Israel)
16. Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming by Elizabeth Almond (USA)

2019 World 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)

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