Now in their fourth year, the Marathon Swimmers Federation awards recognise achievement and commitment of marathon swimmers, as voted for by members of the Marathon Swimmers’ Forum. The finalists were announced at the beginning of January and the winners declared on 26 January.
Chloë McCardel of Australia picked up the women’s Solo Swim of the Year Award in recognition of her three-way English Channel crossing. This was her second consecutive win as she won the 2014 award for her world record 78-mileEleuthera to Nassau swim. McCardel was also a finalist in 2012 for her two-way Channel swim.
The men’s winner this year was Jason Betley from the UK, who completed a two-way Catalina Channel swim – 40 miles in 28hrs 10m.
The second award is for the ‘most impressive year of marathon swimming, all considered.’ On the men’s side, the result was a tie between Craig Lenning of the US (for swims including the length of Loch Ness, Scotland, and the first man to swim the 28-mile length of Flathead Lake, Montana) and Mark Sheridan of the UK (second English Channel crossing, Catalina Channel, SCAR and multiple BLDSA swims). The women’s winner was Bridgette Hobart of the US in recognition of her Rottnest Channel Swim, the 156-mile stage swim of the 9 Finger Lakes of New York and the 8 Bridges Hudson River Swim.
Dan Simonelli of the US was voted as winner of the Service to Marathon Swimming Award that recognises the individual or group who has contributed most meaningfully to the sport of marathon swimming in a non-swimming role. Simonelli, who earlier this month completed his own Catalina Channel swim took part in 27 Catalina Channel swims in 2015 as either an observer, kayaker or crew. He’s also coach to youth relay swims of the Catalina Channel, the English Channel and the Santa Barbara Channel and is president of La Jolla Cove Swim Club.
The next award goes to a swimmer who’s featured several times in H2Open Magazine: Wendy Trehiou, from Jersey. Trehiou won the Yudovin Award for Most Adventurous, Interesting or Unusual Swim for her St. Malo (France) to Jersey swim of 35 miles, which took her 24hrs 25m. She has previously won the MSF Solo Swim of the Year Award, in 2013, for her two-way English Channel crossing following her return to swimming after cancer treatment.
The final award is the Relay of the Year for the most outstanding relay swim of 2015 that went to the Old Men and the Sea. Bill Spore, Dave Radcliff, Graham Johnston, Robert Beach, Bob Best, Don Baker, Norm Stupfel who became the oldest relay team by combined age to swim the Catalina Channel.