2020 WOWSA Awards - World Open Water Swimming Offering Of The Year Nominees

2020 WOWSA Awards – World Open Water Swimming Offering Of The Year Nominees

Courtesy of WOWSA Awards, Huntington Beach, California.

The annual WOWSA Awards are sponsored by the World Open Water Swimming Association and serve as an annual public recognition of the best in the world’s open water swimming community.  There are four 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 mission of the World Open Water Swimming Association is to educate, enthuse and entertain those who venture beyond the shoreline,” says Steven Munatones. “Today, we are announcing 22 nominees from 11 countries for the 2020 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year​.  In a year unexpectedly wracked with government closures, mandates, stay-at-home orders, lockdowns and quarantines, the number of organized swimming events fell dramatically.  But the open water swimming community did not cease to exist.  Rather, open water swimmers not only got busier on dryland, but also shorelines around the world got more crowded with more people venturing out into the open water.  During this past crazy year, swimmers got very creative and produced a larger-than-normal number of books, films, virtual swims, podcasts and all kinds of online properties.  It certainly was a year like no other.

Over the history of the WOWSA Awards, established in 2008, the World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year winners are represented by individuals who clearly and passionately educate, enthuse and entertain others who venture beyond the shoreline with their innovative products and services.”

The annual winners of the World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year include:

2012: SWIM Channel, produced by Patrick Winkler of Brazil

2013: International Ice Swimming Association, founded by Ram Barkai of South Africa

2014: Step Out Of The Ordinary Blue Letter Campaign by Pádraig Mallon and Camlough Lake Water Festival in Ireland

2015: World Ice Swimming Championships in Murmansk, Russia by the International Ice Swimming Association

2016: Samsung Bosphorus Cross-Continental Swim event in Turkey

2017: Sea Donkey, a film by James Harrison with Adrian Sarchet in Guernsey

2018: Icebears Hintertux by Josef Köberl of Austria

2019: Travesía Interminable by Antonio Argüelles of Mexico and Adam Skolnick of the USA

The 2019 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year Travesía Interminable (or its English-language edition, The Forever Swim) is an example of the purpose of the WOWSA Awards.  The World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year is meant to identify unique products, services, events and organizations that:<br/><br/>

(1) best support and assist open water swimmers achieve their goals
(2) are innovative, unique and beneficial to open water swimmers, race directors, coaches or administrators
(3) have made the most positive impact on the world of open water swimming during the calendar year

Munatones added, “This year, the number of 2020 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year nominees was increased due to the uptick in creativity and production of all kinds of innovative services and products.”  The 2020 nominees include the following:

2020 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year Nominees
1. Antarctica 2020 International Swim by Ger Kennedy (Ireland: vote here)

2. Australian Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame (Australia: vote here)

3. Der Mensch Als Fisch – Die Abenteuer von Otto Kemmerich friesischer Schwimmpionier by Erik Eggers (Germany: vote here)

4. Galilee Marathon Swimming Association by Guy Cohen and Eyal Schachner (Israel: vote here)

5. I Swim And Travel Around The World by Yasu Fukuoka (Japan: vote here)

6. It’s Not About The Swim Webinars By Nuala Moore (Ireland: vote here

7. Kosatka DV by Oleg Dokuchaev (Russia: vote here)

8. Mallorca Open Swim by Boris Nowalski (Spain: vote here)

9. Marathon Swim Stories by Shannon House Keegan (USA: vote here)

10. Maratona Aquática. Das Piscinas As Aguas Abertas O Guia Definitivo Do Treinamento Para Nadadores E Triatletas by Diogo Zoppi (Brazil: vote here)

11. NOAA National Weather Service “Wave Safe With Bruckner Chase” Series (USA: vote here)

12. OceanFit by Andre Slade (Australia: vote here)

13. Ocean Grease by Edward Beck (Australia: vote here)​

14. Open Water Virtual Grand Slam by Mark Johnston (USA: see here)

15. ORCA SW Smart Wetsuit by Orbea (Spain: vote here)

16. RIO with Lucas Rivet and Anthony McCarley (Argentina/Brazil/USA: vote here)

17. Splash! 10,000 Years of Swimming by Howard Means (USA: vote here)

18. Strong Like Her.  A Celebration of Rule Breakers, History Makers and Unstoppable Athletes by Haley Shapley (USA: vote here)

19. Swim.com App by Spiraledge (USA: vote here)

20. THE PONDS, Still Waters Run Deep by Patrick McLennan and Samuel Smith (UK: vote here)

21. Wave Warrior by Matt Wild (UK: vote here)

22. Why We Swim by Bonnie Tsui (USA: vote here)

Detailed descriptions of the 2020 World Open Water Swimming Offering nominees are listed below in alphabetical order:

1. Antarctica 2020 International Swim by Ger Kennedy (Ireland: vote here)

The Southern Ocean is at the bottom of the world surrounding the continent of Antarctica.  Inhospitable to humans, but remarkably, Ger Kennedy organized a series of ice swims accessible around the ice-covered tundra to some of the most hardened ice swimmers on the planet.  Antarctica 2020 International Swim was held inside the Antarctic Circle to celebrate Lynne Cox’s pioneering Antarctica swim in 2002 and enable people to swim short distances or Polar Ice Miles.  From Argentina, the Polar Swimming Quest set off by ship and stopped in the Bellingshausen Sea and the Weddell Sea over a few weeks.  12 swimmers entered the cold waters of Antarctica with bioprene only with three major swims safely recorded.  Paul Eugen Dorin Georgescu set  a world record in Hanusse Bay in 0.0°C water with 22 minute 44 second Zero Ice Mile.  Two days later, Ger Kennedy swam another Zero Ice Mile in Paradise Bay in 0.53°C water and -1.10°C air in 34 minutes 2 seconds, and Cath Pendleton followed up 10 days later in Hanusse Bay with a 32:54 Zero Ice Mile in 0.03°C water and -3.2°C air.  For safely organizing swims by Kathryn Pratschke, Redy Redfern, Dee Newell, Jane Hardy, Tiffiny Quinn, Michelle White, Una Campbell, Martina Ring, Anne O’Donovan, Matías Ola, and Alice Kelliher in Antarctica with the help of Sean Cullen and Dimcea Lulian Zamfir, for encouraging marine conservation awareness while encountering challenging conditions, and for enabling the extension of the known physical boundaries for everyone involved, the Antarctica 2020 International Swim by Ger Kennedy is a worthy nominee for the 2020 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.

2. Australian Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame (Australia: vote here)​

Australia’s relationship with freestyle dates to the 19th century.  Since the front crawl was first popularized Down Under, many of the greatest and most influential marathon swimmers in history have been trained in Australia and then ventured internationally to establish their legacies around the world.  Christopher Guesdon and the Panel of Five worked diligently to establish the Australian Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame this year.  The Hall of Fame dedicated exclusively to marathon swimmers and contributors released 37 names in August and a further 24 names in December in its inaugural Class of 2020/2021, an effort that collectively required thousands of hours of research and discussion by its nomination selection committees.  For calling attention to the greatest Australian swimmers of all time, for promoting the accomplishments and achievements of Australian swimmers, coaches, organizations and handlers who through their career achievements have made a significant contribution to marathon swimming and for researching the history of the sport dating back generations, the Australian Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame is a worthy nominee for the 2020 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.

3. Der Mensch Als Fisch – Die Abenteuer von Otto Kemmerich friesischer Schwimmpionier by Erik Eggers (Germany: vote here)

Der Mensch Als Fisch – Die Abenteuer von Otto Kemmerich friesischer Schwimmpionier​ is a biography of Otto Kemmerich (1866-1952), an Honor Swimmer in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame who arguably took on the greatest cumulative risk of any open water swimmer in history.  Kemmerich did many of his marathon swims unescorted – up to 46 hours alone without escort boats or support crews.  German sports historian Erik Eggers covers three decades of his prolific career between the early 1920’s and the mid-1960’s until Kemmerich finally pushed the envelope too far and died during a 200 km stage swim from Denmark to Germany at the age of 66.  For recalling the character, dreams, and vision of Kemmerich for contemporary audiences, for giving tribute to a truly colorful open water explorer and adventurer who weighed the risks of his challenges with detailed planning, and for telling about his experimentation with waterproof watches and implementation of other safety measures, Der Mensch Als Fisch – Die Abenteuer von Otto Kemmerich friesischer Schwimmpionier by Erik Eggers is a worthy nominee for the 2020 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.

4. Galilee Marathon Swimming Association by Guy Cohen and Eyal Schachner (Israel: vote here)

The Galilee Marathon Swimming Association was on a roll.  Co-founders Guy Cohen and Eyal Schachner researched and compiled several decades of historical data about widthwise and lengthwise crossings of the Sea of Galilee since 1944.   They planned, prepared and promoted the longest and most difficult solo swimming course in Israel in order to meet a growing domestic and international interest.  But then the COVID-19 pandemic hit and everything came grinding to a hall.  But the Association got busy again after lockdowns and travel restrictions were lifted and were able to safely organize and officially ratify the marathon swims and relays for 34 swimmers.  For their energy, wisdom, seriousness that Guy Cohen and Eyal Schachner bring to the sport of marathon swimming, for their meticulous planning and organization of swims in a safe manner during a pandemic in the Sea of Galilee and the Mediterranean Sea, for their data-filled website and authoritative resources that they make available to the international community, the Galilee Marathon Swimming Association is a worthy nominee for the 2020 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.

5. I Swim And Travel Around The World by Yasu Fukuoka (Japan: vote here)

Yasu Fukuoka is a 2-time Olympic marathon swimmer who entered the finish chute at the 2016 Rio Olympics in position to capture Japan’s first Olympic medal in open water swimming.  Yasu, as he is known among his competitors, in the Japanese media, and among race directors around the world is a personable, passionate athlete who has literally traveled around the world to over 50 countries either racing or training in pursuit of an Olympic medal.  In cooperation with his Dutch Olympic friends including gold medalist Ferry Weertman, world record holder Esmee Vermeulen, Paralympic gold medalist Lisa Kruger, Olympic physiotherapist Jan Herber, and Olympic coach Patrick Pearson, Yasu created a lifestyle brand of clothing that speaks swimming.  For establishing the first authentic clothing brand for swimmers, for designing fashionable jackets, jeans, sweatshirts, shirts, baseball and knit caps, t-shirts, cases and towels specifically for swimmers, and for identifying and defining a persona and ambiance for those who love training and competing in the water, I Swim And Travel Around The World by Yasu Fukuoka is a worthy nominee for the 2020 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.​

6. It’s Not About The Swim Webinars by Nuala Moore (Ireland: vote here

The COVID-19 pandemic led to all kinds of unexpected and unprecedented changes in the swimming world.  Lockdowns, quarantines, and stay-at-home orders became common.  Pools were closed, teams stopped practices, competitions were cancelled.  These mandates served as a catalyst to an exodus to the shorelines, many swimmers going in cold water for the first time.  As a result, the Irish Coast Guard, and the Rescue services in Ireland responded to multiple weekly near-drowning incidents.   Nuala Moore saw a gap between the experience and the foundational knowledge needed for swimming in sub-10°C water. She helps swimmers to safely swim within their limits in cold water and developed 2-hour online webinars on cold water injuries, focusing on the complex cocktail of cold water temperatures and distance swimming. For educating the influx of swimmers transitioning to the cold and comprehensively explaining the how-to’s, do’s and don’ts of safely venturing past the shorelines, for helping develop a passion and respect for the sea among less experienced swimmers, and for addressing safety issues for swimmers in cold open water, the It’s Not About The Swim Webinars by Nuala Moore is a worthy nominee for the 2020 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.

7. Kosatka DV by Oleg Dokuchaev (Russia: vote here)

Vladivostok is site of Kosatka DV, a winter swimming club and center with hundreds of passionate swimmers and year-round competitions led by President, Founder and Head Coach Oleg Dokuchaev.  But the club’s reach and renowned reputation goes far beyond the port city in eastern Russia.  The club organizes and trains people for extreme swims, eco-marathon swimming relays, and other open water swimming adventures with a goal of marine conservationism and environmentalism in Far East Russia.  Based on his experience organizing the 86 km Bering Strait Swim, dubbed The Most Dangerous Crossing In The World, Dokuchaev organizes four other extreme swimming adventures while balancing the highest safety protocols with difficult challenges.  For organizing the 75 km Amur River Swim for an 8-swimmer relay ending in Khabarovsk and the 160 km Peter the Great Gulf Swim for a 16-swimmer relay around the Empress Eugénie Archipelago in the sea around Vladivostok, for staging the 50 km Lake Baikal Crossing by a 5-swimmer relay across the famous Lake Baikal and the 75 km Russky Round Swim around the Russky Island by 14 swimmers south of Vladivostok, and for training, leading and motivating cold water swimmers of all ages, abilities and backgrounds to challenge themselves in distant extreme eco-swimming relays in unspoilt waterways, the Kosatka DV by Oleg Dokuchaev is a worthy nominee for the 2020 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.

8. Mallorca Open Swim by Boris Nowalski (Spain: vote here)

The waters around Mallorca vary in shades of sea greens and blues, from azure and baby blue to turquoise and royal blue.  The beautiful coastline are the sites of Mallorca Open Swim sessions organized by Boris NowalskiMallorca is the largest island in the Balearic Islands archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea and popular holiday destination.  Nowalski knows where the best coastal spots are to explore on any given day based on the local weather and climate conditions.  For finding the optimal location for all swimmers can visit and enjoy swims along dozens of 42 different coastal courses on the island, for taking care of everything for their guests from safety protocols and improving stroke technique, and for providing memorable adventures and unique experiences in new destinations in the Mediterranean Sea, Mallorca Open Swim by Boris Nowalski is a worthy nominee for the 2020 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.​

9. Marathon Swim Stories by Shannon House Keegan (USA: vote here)

When COVID-19 hit and pools and shorelines closed as a result, open water swimming coach and mentor Shannon House Keegan took to the Internet. Keegan found a niche and touched many hearts with her new Marathon Swim Stories program.  Marathon Swim Stories is a weekly podcast that captures the lives, lifestyles, challenges, training habits, and accomplishments of marathon swimmers and ice swimmers around the world.  For establishing a friendly, educational and inspirational corner of the Internet entirely and specifically dedicated to open water swimming in various forms, for serving as an motivational ambassador and experienced coach for a growing number of people from all walks of life, and for providing thousands of enjoyable downloads for open water swimmers to listen, Marathon Swim Stories is a worthy nominee for the 2020 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.​

10. Maratona Aquática. Das Piscinas As Aguas Abertas O Guia Definitivo Do Treinamento Para Nadadores E Triatletas by Diogo Zoppi​ (Brazil: vote here)​​

Maratona Aquática. Das Piscinas As Aguas Abertas O Guia Definitivo Do Treinamento Para Nadadores E Triatletas is a thick Portuguese-language guide filled with details, explanations and specific workouts written by Diogo Zoppi to help educate coaches, swimmers and triathletes about training in swimming pools and in open bodies of water.   Based on his experience as a professional marathon swimmer racing on the FINA Grand Prix circuit and his solo crossings like the 36 km Travessia do Leme ao Pontal in his native Brazil, Zoppi understands how swimmers can overcome all adversities including currents, wind, waves and marine life in order to succeed in open water races, triathlons and channel swims.  For channeling his decades of experience and knowledge in the written word for the benefit of many, for addressing issues from warming up and post-swim recovery to nutrition to strength training, and for founding Swimming for the Planet aimed at environmental initiatives, Maratona Aquática. Das Piscinas As Aguas Abertas O Guia Definitivo Do Treinamento Para Nadadores E Triatletas by Diogo Zoppi is a worthy nominee for the 2020 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.​

11. NOAA National Weather Service “Wave Safe With Bruckner Chase” Series (USA: vote here)

Beach goers know they must be safe around the coastal shorelines, but few people teach others what to specifically look for and know how to react in emergency or unexpected situations.  Bruckner Chase and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration creatively stepped into this vacuum of information and produced the NOAA National Weather Service “Wave Safe With Bruckner Chase” Series.  This groundbreaking series of demographically and geographically specific videos offers a plethora of visual assets and educational materials that is easy to understand and remember.  For addressing specific hazards and risk factors along the coasts of American East Coast, the American Pacific Northwest, Southern California, Hawaii and American Samoa, for sharing and teaching actions that people can take and specific behaviors that people can adapt, and for taking a lifetime of experiences as a lifeguard and ocean athlete and transforming them to an impactful series of short educational videos that can literally save lives and empower people at the shore to make good choices for themselves and others, the NOAA National Weather Service “Wave Safe With Bruckner Chase” Series is a worthy nominee for the 2020 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.​

12. OceanFit by Andre Slade (Australia: vote here)

When the COVID-19 pandemic slowed things down on dryland and with open water swimming events, Andre Slade of OceanFit sped up, big-time.  When pools were closed, swimmers flocked to the open water and sought information and camaraderie among like-minded aquatic enthusiasts.  OceanFit filled that vacuum and helped make open water swimming accessible to an entirely new slew of open water swimmers throughout Australia.  Training programs were offered for free, up-to-date information  on events and virtual swims were shared with over 13,000 swimmers.  For launching the ONSHORE podcast featuring 39 interviews from Victoria to Queensland that share stories from Australia’s east coast and Swim Buddies to enable people to register a profile (like Facebook) and contact with others to meet up for swims, for growing a Social Swimming Group directory to generate a more enlightened and educated swimming community, for launching domestic swimming holiday programs including Swim The Whitsundays, Swim Keppel Island and Swim Magnetic Island, and for taking a leadership role in exponentially growing the Australian open water swimming community with innovative programs and at unprecedented rates, OceanFit by Andre Slade is a worthy nominee for the 2020 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year. 

13. Ocean Grease by Edward Beck (Australia: vote here)

Marathon swimmers, channel swimmers, triathletes, ice swimmers and others have long used various kinds of grease and lubricants to prevent chafing on swims of all kinds and reduce the uncomfortable rubbing of skin-on-skin and swimsuit-on-skin.  Years ago, anhydrous lanolin was readily available in pharmacies and other retail locations, but no longer.  Edward Beck, a pharmacist, recognized the growing need and developed Ocean Grease, a range of anti-chafing lubricants made from a combination of anhydrous lanolin (wool fat) and petroleum jelly.  For simplifying the pre-race preparations by open water swimmers of all ages by supplying a wide range of anti-chafing lubricants in various mixes to meet the needs of every swimmer, for making Ocean Grease available for easy online purchase, in small enough and competitively priced quantities in user-friendly packaging, and for understanding the vacuum in the market of growing channel and marathon swimmers, Ocean Grease by Edward Beck is a worthy nominee for the 2020 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.

14. Open Water Virtual Grand Slam by Mark Johnston (USA: see here)

In the midst of a near global lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Mark Johnston from Flathead Lake in the state of Montana knew that he needed to do something positive and uplifting.  So the race director and marathon swimmer created the Open Water Virtual Grand Slam, a multi-month catalyst and online social group that kickstarted hundreds of swimmers to join the growing global community of open water swimmers.  With many pool closed and nowhere to swim, many looked at open bodies of water for the first time, but it took the attention and dedication for Johnston and other like-minded swimmers to develop and shape this new community.  For organizing four competitive distances in the open water (800m, 1500m, 1.93 km and 3.96 km), for providing a low-cost means to participate and compete in something new and something fun and inspirational, and for rapidly developing and nurturing additional challenges like The Beast, an 128 km, 120-day virtual perimeter swim in Flathead Lake, the Open Water Virtual Grand Slam by Mark Johnston is a worthy nominee for the 2020 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.

15. ORCA SW Smart Wetsuit by Orbea (Spain: vote here)

The ORCA SW Smart Wetsuit is the next generation open water swimming smart wetsuit developed and distributed by Orbea. It is smart with an embedded NFC identification system; it is safe for integrating Restube connectors; it is highly visible with a bright orange color; it provides 4 mm thick thermal insulation for comfort in the open water; its fast with increased flexibility to swim efficiently in any conditions; its features enables self-confidence in the open water. For introducing the next generation wetsuits for newbies and veterans in any conditions, for enabling a number of leading edge safety features like visibility, Restube integration and an NFC identification system, and for elevating the standards and technology for triathletes and open water swimmers, the ORCA SW Smart Wetsuit by Orbea is a worthy nominee for the 2020 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.

16. RIO with Lucas Rivet and Anthony McCarley (Argentina/Brazil/USA: vote here)

Watching a 60-year-old man swim non-stop for hours on end has never been more dramatic or profound. Lucas Rivet produced a sensational hit with his 33-minute documentary film RIO.  Cameras above, below and on escort boats capture Anthony McCarley at his strongest and at his most vulnerable during the 36 km Travessia do Leme ao Pontal and the 39.7 km crossing attempt of Río de la Plata between Argentina and Uruguay.  With music and sound effects that pulsate throughout the film, McCarley shares his philosophical well-earned wisdom in a touching one-on-one relationship with the viewer.  As the film fluctuates rhythmically between success and failure, teamwork and solitude, joy and fear, sunrise and sunset, McCarley constantly dispenses valuable life advice based on his own experiences and uncommon adventures in the oceans and rivers of the world.  For its inspirational message that comes from the heart of a modern-day hero, for its camerawork that fills the screen with immensely powerful images, and for showcasing the strength of a humble adventurer, RIO the movie with Lucas Rivet and Anthony McCarley is a worthy nominee for the 2020 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year. 

17. Splash! 10,000 Years of Swimming by Howard Means (USA: vote here)

Open water swimming is considered the newest niche of aquatic sports, with its introduction at the Summer Olympic Games coming in 2008.  However, mankind has been swimming in oceans, seas, lakes, rivers and bays for millennia.  Howard Means takes readers of Splash! 10,000 Years of Swimming through the long history of open water swimming from mankind’s earliest ventures beyond the shorelines to the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.  Filled with wit and humor, Means tells the fascinating history of how, where and why humans swim – a sport that has been transformed during the COVID-19 pandemic with global closures of pools and a resurrection of people flocking to open water venues.  For researching and teaching swimmers how their chosen aquatic activities came to be, for sharing swimming stories from Egypt, Greece and Rome through the Dark Ages, Middle Ages and Renaissance, and for explaining how swimming interacts with religion, fashion, public health, segregation, sexism and athletic glory, Splash! 10,000 Years of Swimming by Howard Means is a worthy nominee for the 2020 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.

18. Strong Like Her.  A Celebration of Rule Breakers, History Makers and Unstoppable Athletes by Haley Shapley (USA: vote here)

Strong Like Her.  A Celebration of Rule Breakers, History Makers and Unstoppable Athletes is a book by Haley Shapley that shares stories of various female athletes with larger-than-life characters and historic achievements that were mind boggling and record-shattering.  Shapley tells the history of female strength to understand more profoundly how the physical power, stamina, endurance and creative vision of women can be encouraged and celebrated from the early 20th century to contemporary times.  For illuminating the lives and accomplishments of four swimmers including Annette Kellerman, Rose Pitonof, Gertrude Ederle and Jaimie Monahan, for portraying these swimmer together with other famous female athletes, and for describing how their contributions to society – sometimes obvious, sometimes not – go far beyond their record-setting swims, Strong Like Her.  A Celebration of Rule Breakers, History Makers and Unstoppable Athletes by Haley Shapley is a worthy nominee for the 2020 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.

19. Swim.com App (USA: vote here)

Swim.com app by Spiraledge is one of the leading swimming apps for setting goals, tracking your training, and comparing statistics with your teammates, friends and rivals around the global swimming community. Its latest iteration has ventured beyond the shoreline with significant improvements on some of the GPS limitations of the current smart watches on the market by radically improving the accuracy of distance and pace parameters. For Swim.com’s dedicated focus on developing cutting edge technology, for the app’s specificity for the open water swimming community, and for innovatively combining a swimming workout and training platform with the camaraderie and competition for swimmers of all ages and abilities, the Swim.com app by Spiraledge is a worthy nominee for the 2020 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.

20. THE PONDS, Still Waters Run Deep by Patrick McLennan and Samuel Smith (UK: vote here)

Producers Patrick McLennan and Samuel Smith captured the heart and soul of the swimmers of Hampstead Health, a well-established gathering place in London.  The documentary film, created by Laser Guided Productions with original music by Dai Watts and executive producer Christopher Hird, tells the swimmers who regularly enjoy the waters of Hampstead Heath.  The swimmers of all ages and from all walks of life are the subject of their documentary film THE PONDS, Still Waters Run Deep.  For over 200 years, the beauty and tranquility of the segregated Men’s, Ladies’ and Mixed Ponds has drawn swimmers to relax, revive and recover from the stress of their dryland existence.  For showcasing the confidence and joy of swimmers emerging from the Ponds, for presenting dramatically inspirational cases of resilience and recreation by men and women, and for presenting relatable human stories in the backdrop of a historic pond, THE PONDS, Still Waters Run Deep by producers Christopher Hird, Patrick McLennan and Samuel Smith is a worthy nominee for the 2020 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.​

21. Wave Warrior by Matt Wild (UK: vote here)

From Captain Matthew Webb in the English Channel to Marilyn Bell on Lake Ontario, memorials and landmarks dot shorelines here and there around the globe commemorating a small handful of the greatest channel and marathon swimmers in history.  Jonathan Ratcliffe figuratively entered the Parthenon of great swimmers with his year-end achievement of the Oceans Seven in 2019.   With five children, ages between 10 and 25, each of them crewed individually alongside his wife on his seven challenging crossings, making the Oceans Seven truly a family affair.  Matt Wild of BrewBabu celebrated Ratcliffe’s achievement with a specialty pale ale called Wave Warrior, an appropriately named for the British financier’s distance swims in waterways that were often cold and turbulent.  For creating a specialty brew to celebrate one of the 21 people in history to achieve the Oceans Seven, for coming up with a great name to commemorate Ratcliffe’s Oceans Seven, and for helping promote the Oceans Seven and share Ratcliffe’s goal for his challenge charity efforts, Wave Warrior by Matt Wild of BrewBabu is a worthy nominee for the 2020 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.

22. Why We Swim by Bonnie Tsui (USA: vote here) Why is the most asked question in the open water swimming world.  Why did you cross the channel?  Why do you swim in 0°C water?  Why did you swim the marathon?  Why do you train so much?  Why is also arguably the most difficult question to answer.  But Bonnie Tsui pens the most eloquent response in her highly acclaimed book, Why We Swim.  She explains the seduction of the water in its various forms – from the frigid cold to the tropical warmth – from myriad perspectives in San Francisco Bay, Japan, and Baghdad.  For elevating the joy of swimming and the raison d’être in the water to millions of swimmers and non-swimmers alike, for becoming an Amazon best seller and Time Magazine Must-Read Book of 2020, for sharing her thoughts on how to answer the question ‘why?’, Why We Swim by Bonnie Tsui is a worthy nominee for the 2020 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.

To vote for the 2020 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year, visit here.

For more information on the WOWSA Awards, visit here.

Copyright © 2008 – 2021 by World Open Water Swimming Association

  • January 3, 2021

    Number 8 is listed as an event, which it isn’t, it’s a swimming vacation offering.