Press Release: Nominees Announced for the 2022 WOWSA Awards: Public Voting Now Open

Press Release: Nominees Announced for the 2022 WOWSA Awards: Public Voting Now Open

SAN FRANCISCO, California – January 8, 2023 – The World Open Water Swimming Association (WOWSA) is pleased to announce the nominees for the 2022 WOWSA Awards and to open voting to the general public. These awards recognize the hard work, dedication, and outstanding achievements in open water swimming from around the globe.

This year’s awards received 143 nominations, which were evaluated by the 94 members of the WOWSA Awards Voting Academy and narrowed down to 10 finalists in each category. The 60 nominees, hailing from 23 different countries, best exemplify the spirit of open water swimming and embody the sense of adventure, tenacity, and perseverance that makes this sport so special.

Here are the nominees in each category:

Man of the Year: Steve “Seal” Stievenart (France), Lewis Pugh, OIG (South Africa), Gregorio Paltrinieri (Italy), Joe Zemaitis (USA), Andy Donaldson (Scottland), Axel Reymond (France), Paddy Conaghan (Ireland), Petar Stoychev (Bulgaria), Florian Wellbrock (Germany), Marcin Szarpak (Poland)

Woman of the Year: Sarah Thomas (USA), Ana Marcela Cunha (Brazil), Bárbara Hernández Huerta (Chile), Sharon Van Rouwendaal (Netherlands), Catherine Breed (USA), Kate Steels (UK), Pat Gallant-Charette (USA), Merle Liivand (Estonia), Susan Simmons (Canada), Dina Levačić (Croatia)

Performance of the Year: Sarah Thomas (USA), Team Bits Missing (UK), John & Joe Zemaitis (USA), Adherbal de Oliveira (Brazil), Jenny Smith (USA), Marion Joffle (France), Dr. Marcela Macdonald, DPM (USA), Krysztof Kubiak (Poland), Gustav Kvikant (Finland), Marek Lehocky & Dr. Steven Minaglia (USA)

Para Performance of the Year: Jeremy McClure (Australia), Team Bits Missing (UK), Lisala Folau (Tonga), Spirit Orcas (Canada), Tamás Patkás (Hungary), Guilherme Linhares de Oliveira Gomes (Brazil), Mark Omrod, MBE (UK), Patricia Heffernan (Ireland), Théo Curin (France), Tina Deeken (Germany)

Event of the Year: S.C.A.R. Swim Challenge (USA), Rottnest Channel Swim (Australia), Por Ellas (Mexico), Kingdom Swim (USA), Leme to Pontal Swimming Association (Brazil), Traversée internationale du lac Saint-Jean (Canada), HITtheWall (Ireland), Gdynia Winter Swimming Cup (Poland), Burghausen Winter Swimming World Cup (Germany), Svalbard Ice Swimming Adventure (Norway)

Product or Service of the Year: Cork Distance Week (Ireland), Swim Secure Tow Float (UK), WOWSA Webinar & Education Series (USA), Sharkbanz (USA), dryrobe® (UK), THEMAGIC5 (USA), Morocco Swim Trek (Morocco), SwimOut (UK), The Cold Fix (UK), Sting No More (USA)

We encourage all open water swimmers and fans of the sport to visit the official WOWSA Awards website to learn more about the nominees and to cast their vote.

Let’s recognize and celebrate the athletes, events, services and products which have made a positive impact on the world of open water swimming in 2022.

This year’s awards prizes for The Man and Woman of the Year are sponsored by Nike Swim, Hammer Head Swim Caps, ENERGYbits®, and ORCA.

Voting – January 8, 2023 – January 31 (6:00 PM PST)

Winners announced – February 3, 2023 (6:00 PM PST)

Cast your vote here


WOWSA is dedicated to promoting and celebrating the joy and beauty of open water swimming around the world. From its popular blog, The Daily News of Open Water Swimming, to its comprehensive directory and online learning center offering training and certification, WOWSA supports the open water community, helping swimmers, coaches, and event organizers stay informed and connected. Whether you’re an experienced athlete or just starting out, WOWSA is a go-to resource for all things open water.

Press Contact

Quinn Fitzgerald
+1 (925) 219-2107

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