Craig Dietz, From America To Africa

Craig Dietz, From America To Africa

Craig Dietz, The Limbless Waterman, has had quite a year. From speaking at the Global Open Water Swimming Conference to completing a 5.1 km swim and appearing on American television, he has been on the move.

In 2013, he will move even more. He, along with other American Olympic Coach Bill Rose and world champion Ashley Twichell, will travel to Pietermaritzburg, South Africa to take part in the 40th Midmar Mile.

Dietz is one of the 15 nominees for the 2012 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year that honors the individual who (1) best embodies the spirit of open water swimming, (2) possesses the sense of adventure, tenacity and perseverance that open water swimmers are known for, and (3) has most positively influenced the world of open water swimming during the year.

His World Open Water Swimming Association nomination reads,

With one speech, Craig Dietz moved the world at the Global Open Water Swimming Conference. His delivery was so riveting; his message was so powerful; his courage was so compelling that race directors from around the world invited him to their events throughout Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas. He had luminaries of the sport breathless as he captivated them with his sense of mission, humility, humor, and hunger to succeed. When he swims, it is obvious that he is an athlete: undulating to reach his aquatic goals. He is fearless and bold. Born without arms and without legs, courage and creativity are part of his DNA. Dietz shows other how far drive and imagination can take us. His swims this year spanned America: 5 km at Swim Across America on the West Coast and 4.4 miles at the Great Chesapeake Bay Swim on the East Coast. For his depth of character, for his willingness to try to extend himself in the open water, for his charismatic personality that immediately creates fans and inspires wonder, Craig Dietz is a worthy nominee for the 2012 WOWSA Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.” The other 2012 nominees are listed below in alphabetical order of their first name:

1. Benjamin Schulte (Guam) – Fearless Olympic Marathoner
2. Craig Dietz (USA) – The Limbless Waterman
3. Colin Hill (Great Britain) – Olympic Showman
4. Doug Woodring (Hong Kong) – Ocean Environmentalist
5. Milko van Gool (Netherlands) – Humanitarian Swimmer
6. Oussama Mellouli (Tunisia) – Olympic Champion
7. Pierre Lafontaine (Canada) – Able & Ambitious Administrator
8. Ram Barkai (South Africa) – Mindful Ice Man
9. Salvatore Cimmino (Italy) – Swimming in the Seas of the Globe
10. Stephen Redmond (Ireland) – Oceans Seven Pioneer
11. Thomas Lurz (Germany) – Ambassador and Gentleman
12. Trent Grimsey (Australia) – English Channel Record Breaker
13. Wayne Riddin (South Africa) – Midmar Mile Director
14. Wayne Soutter (South Africa) – The Unthinkable
15. Morrie Chiang (Taiwan) – Sun Lake Moon Director

Online voting will take place here at WOWSA until midnight December 31st San Francisco time.

The 2008 WOWSA Man of the Year was race director Randy Nutt of the USA. The 2009 WOWSA Man of the Year was English Channel record holder Petar Stoychev of Bulgaria. The 2010 WOWSA Man of the Year was United Nations Millennium Development ambassador Marcos Diaz of the Dominican Republic. The 2011 WOWSA Man of the Year was swimmer/organizer/administrator Jamie Patrick of the USA.

Craig Dietz is a motivational speaker who was the keynote speaker at the 2012 Global Open Water Swimming Conference in Long Beach, California. He also swam 5.1 km at the Swim Across America Long Beach event. Despite being born without limbs, Dietz did normal activities with family and friends bowling, hunting, fishing, playing percussion in the school band and volleyball. Craig has lived independently since graduating from high school, and currently resides with his wife in Pennsylvania. Dietz always had a passion for swimming.

But, it wasn’t until 2008 that he decided to start training for open water swimming and completed the 1500-meter swim in the Pittsburgh Triathlon in 40:20. He completed the Pittsburgh Triathlon in 2009 and 2010, finishing the swim in 30:14 in 2010, faster than 140 able-bodied competitors. He also competed in multiple Half Iron Man Relays (1.2-mile swim) and 2-mile swim competitions. In 2011, he attempted the 4.4-mile Great Chesapeake Bay Swim, but he was pulled out after 3.5 miles when lightening started to strike. In 2012, he completed the Great Chesapeake Bay Swim and swam 5.1 km in the Swim Across America event.

Copyright © 2012 by World Open Water Swimming Association