Mariel Hawley Dávila Is 2019 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Author and attorney.

Mother and marathon swimmer.

Widow and motivational speaker.

Mariel Hawley Dávila was voted as the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year, just ahead of her fellow Mexican nominee and friend Nora Toledano Cadena.

Both women are among the 19 individuals in history who have completed the Oceans Seven – and they completed their adventure, both on the same day after often crisscrossing the globe together, when they crossed the Cook Strait in New Zealand in March 2019.

The Mexican duo were among the 12 nominees for the 2019 World Open Water Woman of the Year:

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)

Each of these athletes are symbolic of the purpose of the WOWSA Awards that is meant to honor women who best embody the spirit of open water swimming, possesses the sense of adventure, tenacity and perseverance that open water swimmers are known for, and who have most positively influenced the world of open water swimming during the year.

For her part, Hawley has been raising money for Quiero Sonreír to fund surgeries for Mexican 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 for many years through her marathon swims and channel crossings.

WOWSA founder Steven Munatones explained a small sliver of her background and accomplishments, “Her selflessness and widespread charitable works are constants in her life. She is always on the go: she swims, she works, she writes, and she is a working mother who had to struggle on after the death of her husband in 2015.

But she continued channel swimming and ultimately achieved the Oceans Seven with a 23 km Cook Strait crossing in 11 hours 45 minutes and did the 32 km Los Cabos Open Water Acuarium in 10 hours 14 minutes in Mexico this year. She launched her first English-language book, Like the Heart of the Sea: Always at Peace and her initial book in Spanish, Días Azules, about her marathon swimming exploits.

She is an incredibly strong, resilient, selfless mother who has faced adversity, unexpected obstacles, and seemingly insurmountable challenges.”

The 50-year-old completed her long Oceans Seven journey in triumph across the Cook Strait on the same day as did her close friend and coach, Nora Toledano [shown above in the middle together with Elizabeth Fry on left and Hawley on right].

WOWSA Awards World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year Recipients:
* 2008 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year: Edith van Dijk (Netherlands)
* 2009 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year: Poliana Okimoto (Brazil)
* 2010 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year: Anne Marie Ward (Ireland)
* 2011 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year: Pilar Geijo (Argentina)
* 2012 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year: Annaleise Carr (Canada)
* 2013 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year: Olga Kozydub (Russia)
* 2014 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year: Nataliya Fatyanova, M.D. (Russia)
* 2015 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year: Bridgette Hobart Janeczko (U.S.A.)
* 2016 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year: Jaimie Monahan (U.S.A.)
* 2017 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year: Jaimie Monahan (U.S.A.)
* 2018 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year: Aleksandra Bednarek (Poland)
* 2019 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year: Mariel Hawley Dávila (Mexico)

Copyright © 2008 – 2020 by World Open Water Swimming Association