Explaining The International Marathon Swimming Hall Of Fame

Explaining The International Marathon Swimming Hall Of Fame

There are nearly 250 swimmers, coaches, pilots, organizations and groups inducted in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame (IMSHOF).

The inductees fall into different categories with different criteria for selection and eligibility considerations.

The nominees under consideration in all categories should be international in their support and/or conduct of the Sport of Marathon Swimming and should be recognized as world leaders and champions in the sport. They should be the elite and the world’s finest in their field as a swimmer or as an administrator. Those who are considered should be head and shoulders above the other excellent swimmers and administrators in the field.

1. Honour Swimmers

There are two types of swimmers who are considered: Racers and Solo Swimmers. These athletes have excelled over the marathon swimming distances that have been redefined over the decades. Initially, the marathon swimming distance was ten miles. Then it was defined as 25 km. Due to the addition of the 10 km event at the Olympics, the distance of a marathon swim for the IMSHOF selection purposes is 10 km.

1A. Racers

Racers are those swimmers who regularity participate in world-class marathon swimming competitions. These competitions include the Olympic Games, FINA World Championships, FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix, and FINA 10K Marathon Swimming World Cup events. Consideration is given to those swimmers winning or finishing among the top 3 finishers. Swimmers are usually not considered until they have retired for five years from their last active participation in international events. The exception to this rule is for active swimmers who compete at the international level for a minimum of 10 years, but who have not yet retired. The racer typically participates in many events over the years and is considered on the basis of more than a single or record-setting performance. Participation in and performance on relays is also a consideration.

1B. Solo Swimmers

Solo Swimmers are those swimmers who swim for the sole purpose of crossing an open body of water. They swim for time or merely to finish. They may swim a single non-stop event or a series of swims on successive days (stage swim). Their swims are over 10 km in length, and like the racer, their efforts should be over a period years and not in only one body of water unless the swimmer is claiming several swims in the same body of water. One-time record setting efforts are normally not considered. Participation in and performance on relays is also considered.

2. Pioneer Swimmers

These are the swimmers in the past eras who established their legacy over 50 years ago. They are held to the same basic qualifying standards as more contemporary swimmers. However, some latitude is given relative to the number of events in which they participated and in some cases the distance of the events.

3. Administrators (Coaches, Escort Pilots, Officials, Organizers, and Support Personnel)

These are dedicated personnel who assist in various functions to develop the sport of marathon swimming. There are no well-definied rules or guidelines as to what makes a world-class and elite administrator other than the volume of work performed, the effectiveness of their actions, their longevity during the work, and perhaps augmented by being at the right place at the right time. The person who is considered is compared to others in their field relative to their individual contributions.

Any nominee who has been selected as a Irving Davids-Captain Roger Wheeler Memorial Award recipient is automatically selected as an IMSHOF Honoree.

The IMSHOF Honouree Certificates in this classification are indicated in the applicable area (e.g., Honour Coach, Honour Official, Honour Organizer, Honour Pilot).

4. Honouree Clubs, Organizations, and Race Organizing Committees

This classification includes Clubs, Organizations and Race Organizing Committees that perform in an outstanding manner over a period of years. The IMSHOF wants to recognize their contributions as being truly outstanding. The only criteria is that the contributions are made over a long period of time and that the events are at least 10 kilometers in length. The 10 km requirement can be waived if the selection committee deems it appropriate.

B. IMSHOF Certificate of Merit

In 1994, the Selection Committee of the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame decided to create the Certificate of Merit in order to recognize and honor swimmers and major contributors to Open Water/Marathon Swimming that do not qualify as IMSHOF Honorees.

A swimmer must be retired from active participation before being considered for inclusion in the IMSHOF so they may have to wait for years before they can be recognized. The Committee felt that a Certificate of Merit would serve an instrument to recognize the swimmer before they are technically eligible as an IMSHOF Honoree.

The Committee may also consider presenting the award for a major solo effort. The exception to this award is when a swim is governed by another sanctioning body (e.g., the English Channel or Manhattan Island Marathon Swim). In these cases, it is the sanctioning body’s responsibility to honor the swims under their control. However, the Committee will consider issuing a Certificate of Merit if that governing body so requests. In most cases, the IMSHOF Recording a Swim may be a better solution for this recognition.

A Certificate of Merit may be awarded to any individual or group making a major contribution to the sport. The group can be defined as FINA, National Federations, International Race Management, and event specific Marathon Swim Organizations (e.g., Channel Swimming Association). Additionally, a Certificate of Merit will be presented for the first-time swimmer or administrator is named as a Finalist on the ballot as a ISHOF Honoree. Candidates in other categories who supported or contributed to Marathon Swimming from other disciplines are also considered (e.g., Thomas Hoad of Australia served as the Director of the FINA World Championships and made a major contribution to the first FINA Open Water 25K World Championships and Jane Katz was on the committee that ran the first few Manhattan Island Marathon Swims).

The Certificate of Merit may also be presented to swimmers who are removed from the Nomination file as a result of not being selected as an honouree during the previous 10-year period. But there is no specific criterion used in the selection process and each case is considered on an individual basis. Only one certificate is issued to an individual or group.

C. Irving Davids-Captain Roger W. Wheeler Memorial Award

The Irving Davids-Captain Roger Wheeler Memorial Award was established in 1970 by the New England Marathon Swimming Association (NEMSA) and to honor and recognize the contribution of individuals and groups making major contributions to Marathon Swimming and serve as a perpetual memorial to the two namesakes of the award.

The Davids-Wheeeler Award is an award of the International Swimming Hall of Fame, but it is administered by the IMSHOF. It is given annually to the person or group making major ongoing contributions to the sport of Marathon Swimming. Although the award is presented annually, it is in actuality an award for a lifetime of service. There is no specific critera for selection. Selection is based on comparisons with other candidates and the past winners.

D. Record A Swim Program

This classification is currently under revision.

E. Certificate of Appreciation and Recognition

A certificate will be available upon request to recognize any swimmer or administrator not technically qualifying for the IMSHOF Certificate of Merit. The concept for this Certificate was deemed appropriate when the Committee receives a request to determine if the IMSHOF could provide something to recognize and show IMSHOF appreciation for their efforts and accomplishments. These certificates are customized to meet the needs while maintaining the standards of the IMSHOF.

The International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame is entirely supported by the generous financial contributions of its donors and supporters. Over the decades, these donors have helped keep alive the memories and legacies of the previous generations of outstanding swimmers and contributors to the sport. For more information, visit here.

The 2013 International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame induction ceremonies will be held in Cork, Ireland between October 11th-13th. For more information on these ceremonies, visit here.

Copyright © 2013 by Open Water Swimming
Steven Munatones