Nejib Belhedi Is 2020 World Open Water Swimming Man Of The Year
Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.
The World Open Water Swimming Association (WOWSA) officially announced its 2020 WOWSA Award winners. The WOWSA Awards are an annual selection of the most remarkable individuals, performances and offerings in the global open water swimming community as voted upon by swimmers and swimming fans around the world.
59 nominees from 27 nations were chosen from the tens of thousands of heroes and heroines in the sport. “In a totally unexpected year of lockdowns, stay-at-home mandates, pool, beach and travel restrictions, and quarantines, the sport of open water swimming not only continued on, but the number of people venturing beyond the shoreline grew in great numbers. The growth was unprecedented and was probably only rivaled in the years between 2006 and 2010 that was caused by the inclusion of the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games,” explained Steven Munatones.
“The nominees all embody the sense of adventure, tenacity, perseverance for which open water swimmers are known. The 2020 WOWSA Awards winners were selected by a global online poll.”
A total of 71,628 votes were cast, resulting in Nejib Belhedi of Tunisia as the World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year, Bárbara Hernández Huerta of Chile as the World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year, Kamil Resa Alsaran of Turkey won the World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year for completing the Original Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming, and Kosatka DV, led by Oleg Dokuchaev of Russia, was selected as the 2020 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
Belhedi was selected as the 2020 Man of the Year, his third career WOWSA Award after winning the 2011 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year and the 2016 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year awards. “He always does a number of open water swimming activities in his native Tunisia throughout the year. Year in and year out, he does cold water swims and marathon swims as well as organize his Ouma campaign, but this year in 2020, Belhedi completed a 155 km circumnavigation swim around Djerba Island in Tunisia that took him 47 hours 50 minutes. It was a televised event that was broadcast to millions of people across the Middle East and North Africa region,” said Munatones.
The 59 nominees were chosen from the thousands of heroes and heroines in the sport and included:
- World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year Nominees: André Wiersig (Germany), Evan Morrison (USA), Gregorio Paltrinieri (Italy), Henri Kaarma (Estonia), Jaime Lomelin (Mexico), Joe Zemaitis and John Zemaitis (USA), Julian Critchlow (UK), Nejib Belhedi (Tunisia), Paul Eugen Dorin Georgescu (Romania), Pedro Rego Monteiro (Brazil), Ronnie Wong (Hong Kong), and Ryan Stramrood (South Africa)
- World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year Nominees: Ana Marcela Cunha (Brazil), Anna-Carin Nordin (Sweden), Bárbara Hernández Huerta (Chile), Cath Pendleton (Wales), Chloë McCardel (Australia), Elena Savinkova (Russia), Jaimie Monahan (USA), Kyra Wijnker (Netherlands), Mariel Hawley Dávila (Mexico), Sarah Thomas (USA), Susan Simmons (Canada), and Valérie Grégoire (St. Kitts & Nevis)
- World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year Nominees: Century Swim To Malta by Neil Agius (Malta), FINA/CNSG Marathon Swim World Series Victory by Leonie Beck (Germany), HK360Xtreme Challenge by Mayank Vaid (India), Ice Kilometer by Alisa Fatum (Germany), Lake Baikal Relay Eco-Crossing (Russia), Lake George Two-way Crossing by Caroline Block, Ph.D. (USA), Maratona del Golfo Capri-Napoli by Arianna Bridi (Italy), Monterey Bay Crossing by Catherine Breed (USA), Peace Route Swim (Turkey), Sea of Galilee Perimeter Swim (Israel), Original Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming by Kamil Resa Alsaran (Turkey), and Travessia do Leme ao Pontal by Mariana Chevalier Santos (Brazil)
- World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year Nominees: Antarctica 2020 International Swim by Ger Kennedy (Ireland), Australian Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame (Australia), Der Mensch Als Fisch – Die Abenteuer von Otto Kemmerich friesischer Schwimmpionier by Erik Eggers (Germany), Galilee Marathon Swimming Association by Guy Cohen and Eyal Schachner (Israel), I Swim And Travel Around The World by Yasu Fukuoka (Japan), It’s Not About The Swim Webinars By Nuala Moore (Ireland), Kosatka DV by Oleg Dokuchaev (Russia), Mallorca Open Swim by Boris Nowalski (Spain), Marathon Swim Stories by Shannon House Keegan (USA), Maratona Aquática. Das Piscinas As Aguas Abertas O Guia Definitivo Do Treinamento Para Nadadores E Triatletas by Diogo Zoppi (Brazil), NOAA National Weather Service “Wave Safe With Bruckner Chase” Series (USA), OceanFit by Andre Slade (Australia), Ocean Grease by Edward Beck (Australia), Open Water Virtual Grand Slam by Mark Johnston (USA), Orca SW “Smart” Wetsuit (Spain), RIO with Lucas Rivet and Anthony McCarley (Argentina/Brazil/USA), Splash! 10,000 Years of Swimming by Howard Means (USA), Strong Like Her. A Celebration of Rule Breakers, History Makers and Unstoppable Athletes by Haley Shapley (USA), Swim.com App (USA), THE PONDS, Still Waters Run Deep by Patrick McLennan and Samuel Smith (UK), Wave Warrior by Matt Wild (UK), and Why We Swim by Bonnie Tsui (USA)
“Each of these nominees is very special. They represent so many others in the sport. We have old and young swimmers, coaches, pilots, ice swimmers, authors, filmmakers, and organizers who have all positively impacted the sport in their own creative ways during the COVID-19 year where the sport grew exponentially due to pool closures,” says Munatones.
WOWSA serves to educate, entertain, and enthuse those who venture beyond the shore. WOWSA is an international association dedicated to the organization, promotion, and recognition of open water swimmers.
For further information and photos of the winners, visit here.
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