The open-water swimming community has honoured its best swimmers at the 2022 World Open Water Swimming Association (WOWSA) Awards.
The WOWSA Awards celebrates the exceptional individuals, events, products and services in the open-water world.
On January 8, in San Francisco, California, the WOWSA Awards announced the winners of its 2022 awards across six categories; Man of the Year, Woman of the Year, Performance of the Year, Para Performance of the Year, Event of the Year, and Product or Service of the Year.
The awards celebrate individuals and offerings that embody the spirit of open-water swimming and have positively impacted the community, showcasing their determination, fortitude, sense of adventure, tenacity and perseverance.
Over 143 nominations were evaluated by the 94 members of the WOWSA Awards Voting Academy and narrowed down to 10 finalists in each category, hailing from 23 different countries.
More than 11,400 public votes were cast, with a 75% weighting from the WOWSA Academy and 25% from the general public, to determine the top three winners in each category.
Winners of the World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year and the World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year receive a selection of gifts from leading open water swimming brands, including a Hydrastrong Swimsuit and accessories from Nike Swim, an Openwater Backpack from Orca, a protective swim cap from Hammerhead, an Evo Swim Parka from Red Paddle, and Nutritional Algae Tablets from Energybits as their prize.
WOWSA Man of the Year:
Paddy Conaghan (Ireland)
The 81-year-old completed a non-contiguous charity swim around Ireland, raising over €104,400, starting and finishing on Arranmore Island, swimming more than 300 times during the stage swim.
WOWSA Woman of the Year:
Sarah Thomas (USA)
The 40-year-old won the 16 km Swim the Suck, completed an unprecedented 70 km two-way crossing of the North Channel between Scotland and Northern Ireland in 21 hours 48 minutes, and continues to be the most accomplished marathon swimmer of the current era while serving as a global ambassador of the sport.
Para Performance of the Year:
Mark Omrod, MBE (United Kingdom)
The 39-year-old triple amputee this amazing man swam 1 km in 35 minutes 48 seconds at Plymouth, raising more than £600,000 for charity.
Event of the Year:
S.C.A.R Swim Challenge (USA)
The S.C.A.R. Swim Challenge is a 4-day stage swim in Arizona in the Saguaro Lake, Canyon Lake, Apache Lake, and Roosevelt Lake. At a total cumulative distance of 41.7 miles (66.9 km), it is one of the longest marathon swims and organized stage swims in the world, and part of the Triple Crown of Stage Swims.
Product or Service of the Year:
Cork Distance Week (Ireland)
The Cork Distance Week (Distance Training Week) is a marathon swimming preparation camp designed and led by International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Administrator Ned Denison of Ireland. Held in Sandycove Island in Cork, Ireland as its base, the training camp lays the groundwork to high mileage and significant psychological stress with the goal to help its participants achieve their marathon swimming and channel swimming goals.