Australian Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honors Kevin Holtom

Courtesy of Australian Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame.

Chris Guesdon and Gary Toner announced Kevin Holtom as a member of the inaugural Class of 2020 in the Australian Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame.

They explained, “Kevin is a significant contributor to the development of open water swimming in Australia and around the world. Kevin had an early introduction to the sport of open water swimming when, as a 15 year old, he joined the West Perth Swimming Club in 1963. His coach, being a former surf lifesaving member, encouraged his squad members to participate in the many swim thru’ events conducted in the river each year and even to join a water polo and/or surf club to increase their swimming enjoyment rather than relying on just pool swimming events.

So began a period of nearly 45 years of involvement in aquatic sports in one form or another at all levels of competition and administration.

In 1979 he joined the Carine AUSSI Masters Swimming Club. He was the club coach in 1980. The club had a strong focus on open water swimming and was very successful at all levels of competition. In 1985, he was invited to form and chair a committee to conduct open water swimming events for the AUSSI Masters State Branch. This Committee ran events up to 8 km and formed the nucleus of future committees conducting events for both Australian Swimming and FINA in Western Australia.

In 1988, Kevin was invited to join Western Australia Swimming’s Technical Committee as its Open Water Swimming Co-ordinator with the primary aim of running longer events for the Association’s members and increasing the memberships’ participation in open water swimming generally. He then joined the Australian Open Water Swimming Committee, also in 1988, which had oversight of open water swimming events for the Federation across Australia. This lead to Kevin being offered the role of Open Water Swimming Co-ordinator for the XI FINA World Swimming Championships conducted in Perth in 1991. For the first time, open water swimming was included in FINA’s swimming program with the introduction of the 25 km marathon swim.

Over the next 17 years, Kevin:

• organized the inaugural international trial event for the 25 km open water swimming in Perth on the Swan River in 1990, that also served as the inaugural Australian Swimming’s National Open Water Swimming Championships
• coordinated and organized the conduct of the first 25 km FINA World Championship open water swims for Australian Swimming and FINA in Perth in 1991
• served as the co-founder of the Rottnest Channel Swim Association. The first swim was held in 1991 and the Association has celebrated its 30th year in 2020.
• subsequent to the 1991 FINA World Swimming Championships, he was appointed to FINA’s Open Water Swimming Referees’ lists 1, 3 and 5 through until 2006
• chaired or sat on committees which organized and/or oversaw the conduct of State, National and International Open Water Swimming Championships and events up until 2007
• coordinated and organized the conduct of the inaugural 5 km and the 25 km FINA World Championships open water swimming events for Australian Swimming/FINA in Perth in 1998
• served on two National Open Water Swimming Teams as a swimmer’s handler in 1995 in Atlanta, USA and as Assistant Manager in 1999 in Victoria, Australia
• attended three international open water swimming events as a FINA Referee or Senior Official in 2001 in Fukuoka, Japan, in 2002 in New Caledonia and in 2005 in Montreal, Canada
• coordinated the conduct of the 5 km, 10 km and 25 km FINA World Championship for Australian Swimming/FINA in 2007 in Melbourne
• coordinated the 12th FINA World Masters Open Water Swimming Championships in 2008 in Perth

Kevin has received numerous awards over these 45 years which acknowledged his contribution to the development and encouragement of, and participation in, open water swimming events and competitions. He was awarded:

• Life Membership of the Rottnest Channel Swim Association in 1998
• Life Membership of Swimming Western Australia in 2009
• Honouree of the Australian Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame in 2020

Kevin rates his three biggest achievements during this time as:

1. Having been part of several committees and groups that have conducted many open water swimming events over the years that have greatly increased participation in open water swims. As an example, Swimming Western Australia’s open water swimming events that now attract over 6,000 entries each season.
2. Having the opportunity to coordinate and organize the very first FINA World Swimming Championships open water swimming events.
3. Being a co-founder of the formation of the hugely popular Rottnest Channel Swim. This event in particular, after 30 years, still attracts thousands of swimmers each year.

Kevin feels his challenge way back in 1988 to increase the profile of, and participation in, open water swimming as well and truly mission accomplished.”

The inaugural class of Australian Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame honourees inducted on August 2020 include:

Australian Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honourees – Class of 2020:
* Jennifer Anderson
* Lauren Arndt
* David Bates
* Clive Berry Rickards
* Kate Brookes-Peterson
* Roger Bruce
* Tamara Bruce
* Richard Campion
* Brendan Capell
* Graeme Carroll
* Cavill Family
* Melissa Cunningham
* William Ford
* Melissa Gorman
* Trent Grimsey
* Christopher Guesdon
* Susanne Guesdon
* Kevin Holtom
* Annette Kellerman
* Tracy Knowles
* John Koorey
* Susie Maroney OAM
* Chloë McCardel
* Linda McGill MBE
* Joseph Mitchell
* Lynton Mortensen
* David O’Brien OAM
* Penny Palfrey
* James Pittar
* Des Renford MBE
* Grant Robinson
* Rottnest Channel Swim Association
* Mark Saliba
* Josh Santacaterina
* Shelley Taylor-Smith
* Gary Toner
* Suzanne Toner

For more information, visit the Australian Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Facebook here with Instagram @amshofame.

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