Stephen Redmond is WOWSA Man of the Year 2012

Photograph – Unknown

Steve after completing his final swim of the Oceans Seven, the Tsugaru Strait in Japan.

West Cork’s own Stephen Redmond has been voted WOWSA Man of the Year 2012 in a global online poll, it was announced yesterday.

The first (and only) person to have conquered the epic Oceans Seven challenge, Steve topped the field of fifteen nominees, which included such distinguished athletes as Trent Grimsey of Australia, Oussama Mellouli of Tunisia, Thomas Lurz of Germany and Craig Dietz of the USA!  He succeeds Randy Nutt of the USA, Petar Stoychev of Bulagria, Marcos Diaz of the Dominican Republic and Jamie Patrick of the USA.

Ireland has a history of punching above our weight in these awards. This year, Ned Denison‘s Cork Distance Week and Donal Buckley & Evan Morrison’s online forum, MarathonSwimmers.org, were also nominated. While in previous years, other swimmers, including Lisa Cummins, Julie Galloway and Anne Marie Ward have been nominated for and won WOWSA awards.

The who’s who of Irish open water swimming to gather in Fermoy tomorrow night…

For the last number of years, Ned Denison has hosted an annual party at his home to honour Irish swimmers who had completed big swims such as the English Channel, North Channel and Strait of Gibraltar (and many others). Both swimmers and crews were invited and the night was always a great success. Separately, the Irish Long Distance Swimming Association (ILDSA) has held its annual awards at which swimmers and race organisers from both the Republic and Northern Ireland were honoured for their achievements. By the way, both Ned and the ILDSA were this year inducted into the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame (IMSHOF) in Fort Lauderdale, Florida!

This year, for the first time, these two functions will be held jointly. It’s a great honour for me that the my home town of Fermoy was chosen as the venue! The mass celebration of an amazing year in Irish open water swimming will kick off at 18:30 in the Grand Hotel on the banks of the Blackwater River with a presentation on the history of North Channel swimming by seasoned North Channel pilot and chronicler Brian Meharg of Bangor Boat, Bangor, Co. Down. There will then be a meal and the awards will follow…

It promises to be a great night and hopefully I will have a few photographs and a quick run down of the various awards on the blog at some stage next week!