2020 International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Induction Virtual Ceremonies
Courtesy of International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame.
Since 1963, the world’s best channel swimmers, marathon swimmers, stage swimmers, extreme swimmers, and circumnavigation swimmers, marathon swimming coaches, escort pilots, and administrators around the world have been honored in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame. To date, 306 individuals and organizations have been recognized by their peers and been inscribed on the Sea Goddess, a trophy on permanent display at the International Swimming Hall of Fame in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
The International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame has held annual induction ceremonies for decades. Initially, the ceremonies were held in Florida prior to the International Swimming Hall of Fame ceremonies. Then, in an effort to expand its awareness more globally, the marathon swimmers took their annual show on the road to Australia, California, New York, Scotland, Ireland and the UK over the past ten years.
The 2020 ceremonies were scheduled to be held in New York City, but then the COVID-19 pandemic hit and travel restrictions, quarantines, mandates, and lockdowns were put in place – and remain – over much of the world. Chairperson Ned Denison explains, “We hoped to meet in person in New York in 2020 – but COVID changed the world. The millions of lives
lost and hundreds of millions of lives impacted make the cancellation of most sports and events seem quite minor.”
With both 2020 and 2021 ceremonies on hold, the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame decided to go the way of other major annual celebrations and awards ceremonies: online via Zoom. Denison said, “This was our first virtual event. While we miss the usual fabulous human interaction, we shared this special event of over 30 pre-recorded videos from honorees with a much larger audience.
This was the first time all inductees and awards winners “appeared” at their ceremony – a very positive outcome.
We had honorees from past years introduce these year’s honorees; Britta Kamrau of Germany and Claudio Plit of Argentina talked about their personal relationships with Esther Nuńez of Spain and Damián Blaum of Argentina which was special.”
So the first virtual International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame induction and awards ceremony were held and the Class of 2020 were introduced. Ned Denison and Melissa Roberts were the co-hosts and nearly 40 living inductees participated virtually. The Class of 2020 inductees included:
- Cameron Bellamy (South Africa), Honor Swimmer, introduced by Ricardo Ratto
- Damián Blaum (Argentina), Honor Swimmer, introduced by Claudio Plit
- Marcia Cleveland (USA), Honor Swimmer, introduced by Marcella MacDonald, DPM
- Captain Nabil Elshazly (Egypt), Honor Swimmer, introduced by his son Nasser Elshazly
- Bryan Finlay, PhD (Great Britain), Honor Administrator, introduced by Elizabeth Fry
- Spiros Gianniotis (Greece), Honor Swimmer, introduced by Thomas Lurz
- Massimo Giuliani (Italy), Honor Contributor, introduced by Martina Grimaldi
- IJsselmeer Zwemmarathon (Netherlands), Honor Contributor, introduced by Richard Broer
- Esther Nuñez Morera (Spain), Honor Swimmer, introduced by Britta Kamrau
- Walter Poenisch (USA), Honor Swimmer, introduced by Beth Yudovin
- Éva Risztov (Hungary), Honor Swimmer, introduced by Attila Mányoki
- Doug Woodring (Hong Kong/USA), Honor Administrator, introduced by Lewis Pugh, OIG
- Sid Cassidy (USA), Irving Davids-Captain Roger Wheeler Memorial Award, introduced by Chris Guesdon
- Petar Stoychev (Bulgaria), Poseidon Award, introduced by Michael Read, MBE
- Beth Yudovin (USA), Dale Petranech Award for Services to the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame, introduced by Ned Denison
The 2 hour 12 minute ceremony (shown above) also recognized International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame honorees – hugely impactful luminaries in the sport of marathon swimming – who passed away in 2020:
- Dennis Miller, Honor Administrator from Fiji
- Ersin Aydin, Honor Swimmer from Turkey
- Cor de Bruin, Honor Contributor from Netherlands
- Charlie Gravett, Honor Contributor from Great Britain
- George Park, Honor Swimmer from Canada
- Dale Petranech, Honor Administrator from USA
- Tom Watch, Honor Coach from Great Britain
- Barry Watson, Honor Swimmer from Great Britain
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