Anne Marie Ward Is Open Water Swimming's Woman Of The Year

Anne Marie Ward Is Open Water Swimming’s Woman Of The Year

The North (Irish) Channel is renowned for being the toughest channel swim in the world – cold, rough, filled with jellyfish and fraught with unpredictable weather. But it was site to the tenacious efforts of one Irish women who never quit until she reached the other side.

Anne Marie Ward, an unlikely endurance heroine, joined one of the most elite and exclusive marathon clubs in the world – the 11 members of the North (Irish) Channel club. Her never-say-never 18 hour 59 minute effort – on her fourth attempt – courageously ended in darkness at 3:35 am.

With both the English Channel and North Channel under her belt, Anne Marie completely reversed her previously unhealthful lifestyle – an inspirational story in itself – and is now one of the world’s most accomplished cold-water channel swimmers. Starting humbly and simply with a 2-mile charity swim, Annemarie is now deservedly recognized by her peers and honored for reaching the pinnacle of her sport.

Kieran Fitzgerald recalls, “What a lot of people don’t know about is about her first attempt in August where she swam for four hours in darkness in horrendous jellyfish conditions. She was swung with over two hundred stings and had to be hospitalized.”

To jump back into the sea with that experience in mind takes a tremendously focused and dedicated athlete.

For her amazing swim between Ireland and Scotland (see map of channel above), her admirable lifestyle turnaround and dedication to charity swims, Anne Marie was selected as the 2010 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year.

Among the millions of female open water swimmers around the world, the 12 nominees clearly stood out – their exploits, histories and lifestyles are all incredibly inspirational for they overcame failures, obstacles and disappointments at some point in their swimming careers. But they forged on, positively and courageously. As the award is meant to symbolize, the nominees (1) embodied the spirit of open water swimming, (2) possess the sense of adventure, tenacity and perseverance that open water swimmers are known for, and (3) most positively influenced the world of open water swimming in 2010.

The final results of the 2010 vote were as follows:

1. Anne Marie Ward, Swimmer (Ireland) 47.36% (2,558 votes)
2. Ana Marcela Cunha, Swimmer (Brazil) 28.74% (1,552 votes)
3. Linsy Heister, Swimmer (Netherlands) 10.39% (561 votes)
4. Jackie Cobell, Swimmer (Great Britain) 3.43% (185 votes)
5. Barbara Held, Swimmer (USA) 3.35% (181 votes)
6. Penny Palfrey, Swimmer (Australia) 2.24% (121 votes)
7. Angela Maurer, Swimmer (Germany) 1.72% (93 votes)
8. Eva Fabian, Swimmer (USA) 0.7% (38 votes)
9. Freda Streeter, Coach/Motivator (Great Britain) 0.65% (35 votes)
10. Diana Nyad, Swimmer (USA) 0.63% (34 votes)
11. Sue Oldham, Swimmer (Australia) 0.5% (27 votes)
12. Mighty Mermaids, Swimmers (USA) 0.3% (16 votes)

Nuala Moore tells first-hand of Annemarie‘s swim in the North Channel here.

The official announcement from Open Water Source is below:

Copyright © 2010 by Open Water Source
Steven Munatones