Every November since 2008, the World Open Water Swimming Association, led by COOL IISA member Steven Munatones, has announced its nominees for greatness in open water swimming. Awards are organized into four categories: Woman of the Year, Man of the Year, Performance of the Year, and Offering of the Year. This year, seven IISA members earned nominations.
Leading the Woman of the Year category is none other than Jaimie Monahan (USA), a prolific ultra-marathon swimmer and the first person to complete the Ice 7 Challenge. She’s joined by ice miler Sarah Thomas (USA), who’s being recognized for her astonishing 104.6-mile swim across Lake Champlain in August. Rounding out the Woman of the Year category is Julia Wittig (Germany), current female world champion and world record holder in the Ice Kilometer, who turned in a dominating performance during the 2017 Ice Swimming Aqua Sphere World Championships and German Open in Burghausen, Germany last January.
Speaking of dominating—on the men’s side, Petar Stoychev (Bulgaria) earns a well-deserved nomination for his record-setting Ice Kilometer in Burghausen, which lowered the world standard to a blazingly fast 12:15:87.
For Performance of the Year, christof wandratsch (Germany) earned a nod for his top performances at Burghausen and his tireless efforts to bring the World Championships to his hometown.
In the Offering of the Year category, Outdoor Swimmer magazine, founded and published by Simon Griffiths, a COOL IISA member, earns a nomination. Based in the UK, Outdoor Swimmer (formerly H2Open magazine) nearly doubled its publication frequency to monthly earlier this year. Griffiths is assisted by editor jonathan cowie, who’s also a COOL IISA member, and lots of writers and photographers around the globe who cover ice swimming events and other open water swims. Also in the Offering of the Year Category—Toni Enderli (South Africa) received a nomination for “The Channel of Bones,” a documentary film about his 20-hour, 35-minute (warm water!) crossing of the Molokai Channel in Hawaii.
These are just seven worthy nominations among a list of nearly 50 swimmers, offerings, and performances that made a lasting impression in 2017. Check out all the nominations and cast your vote for the ones that have inspired you!