Volunteers who share their time, passion and talents to help support an open water swim are literally the lifeblood of the sport.

They do everything from help provide a safety net to picking up trash after the event. They help with registration, website updates, anchoring the turn buoys, setting up the start and finish, making brochures, answering questions, and innumerable other activities.

And there is no other open water swimming event in the world that awards and promotes its volunteers like the Descenso a Nado de la Ría de Navia, a multi-race event held annually in northern Spain.

One of the unique characteristics of the Descenso a Nado de la Ría de Navia is to choose a Reina (Queen) and Dames (Princesses) of its annual event. It is an honor to be selected as the event’s Reina and Dames among all of the volunteers who donate hours of their time to help support the event. The Queen and Dames serve as ambassadors and are busy greeting swimmers, meeting the press, participating in parades and dances, making speeches, and handing out the awards.

Maria Gión Benedi was chosen as the Reina of the 2013 Descenso a Nado de la Ría de Navia. The Dames – Macarena Iglesias and Nerea Álvarez – who will represent the 2013 Descenso together with Maria are local young women who have also always enjoyed supporting the Descenso Navia .

Ignacio Martinez Sela describes the young Queen and her court, “The Descenso Queen and her Dames are, as they are every year, young volunteers of our organization. Our next Queen, María, is an active collaborator who has volunteered at the Descenso all her whole life along with her family too. Her father was one of the pioneers of the Navia swimming coaches many years ago. He helped local kids learn how to swim at the little fountain pool on Palacio Arias Hotel. Maria volunteered to do a number of roles with the event. She delivered swim caps; she volunteered selling t-shirts; she volunteered to manage the entries over the last 10 years. Together with Macarena and Nerea, and are looking forward to project the best image of our races and our local community.”

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