Announcing the First Annual Global Marathon Swimming Awards

Early in 2012, Evan Morrison, myself and a small group of well-known swimmers corresponded to discuss the possibility of initiating a global marathon swimming award.

Our desire was to focus exclusively on swimmers and swims which followed the traditionally accepted marathon swimming guidelines; single, non-stop, non-assisted swims over 10 kilometres. Our concern was that with the proliferation of new and alternative types of swims, all acceptable on their own merits, the long-established sport of unaided marathon and Channel swimming was losing visibility and confusion was growing. We believe in fact that in 2012 this problem has grown to an even greater extent, as I have written about previously.

This discussion led in turn to the creation of, the first forum to support and promote traditional marathons swimming, for all abilities, from beginners to Aspirants, to experienced marathon and Channel swimmers. After seven months in operation, with a steadily increasing membership, including hundreds of Channel swimmers,  Evan and I we feel comfortable that is healthy and that now is an apt time to announce the First Annual Global Marathon Swimming Awards.

This first year, there will be three categories.

Dave Barra & Donal Buckley on Brighton Beach

The Barra Award is named after forum Charter Member* and valued part of all our discussions and all-round funny guy, David Barra, who in one season completed English Channel, Catalina Channel, Manhattan Island Marathon Swim, Maui Channel, Tampa Bay Marathon Swim, Ederle Swim, and the Boston Light Swim. Dave’s email and forum signature is typical of a marathon swimmer’s ethos. “Anything worth doing, is worth overdoing“.

The awards selection will be by a nomination and vote process of the forum members, followed by a committee decision. Nominees do not have to be forum members. Only members of the forum are eligible to nominate and vote, and with only one vote and nomination per category per member.

  • We will only consider swims for the calendar year of 2012. (Any meritorious swims occurring after the announcement in 2012 will instead be eligible in 2013).
  • We will not announce running totals, so there will be no leading of votes.
  • There will be no multiple votes possible per member or IP address.

More details are on the link.

It’s worth reiterating therefore that these awards will be: By Swimmers. For Swimmers.

* Forum Charter member were those involved in the early discussions who signed up early in the first round. It’s our way of recognising and thanking them for their help and early participation.

Related articles:

The announcement on Evan’s


9 thoughts on “Announcing the First Annual Global Marathon Swimming Awards

  1. Pingback: The best marathon swims of 2012

  2. Jamie, I do get where you’re coming from on this, and I respect it. I too would love for marathon swimming to be on the radar of a bigger slice of the general public – and for the general public to better understand what our sport is about.

    But I’m not sure that what these awards are about. Actually, I know it’s not 🙂 The awards are about, quite simply, identifying the best swims of the year. Period. We believe that actual marathon swimmers (and people who take an active interest in discussing and engaging on the subject on the Forum) are in the best position to judge this.

    Donal and I are both glad you’re a member of the Forum, and we look forward to your nominations. Cheers, brother.


  3. Donal – This is really cool and exciting. I am confused however. I was under the impression that the point of creating the forum was to show the WORLD what marathon swimming is. Not only for the current marathon swimmer to learn and discuss, but to shed light to the outsider of its greatness. Allowing only those that are members of the forum to vote narrows your audience and does not present to the world the great things these swimmers have done. There are 460 members. If 70% vote then you will only have about three hundred people voting. The winner may have 80 votes. Is that what is going to determine THE GLOBAL MARATHON SWIMMING AWARDS? This does nothing to bring the public into the marathon world. It does nothing to teach and inform outsider. It just becomes a social club voting for one of their members who they think did the best. I think this is incredibly awesome and needed, but why would you not want to show the world what Marathon swimming by letting them be part of it? Have the forum members make the nominations and then let the world vote on it to reach as many people as possible. This will illustrate and show the world what marathon swimming is . Just my thoughts


    • Thanks Jamie. I appreciate the feedback.

      I doubt we’ll even have 50% voting first time, I don’t think that’s relevant. We believe it will however be global in that swimmers and the worldwide swimming community can vote should they so desire. And we look at it like most swimmers look at most swims, as a long term view and a long term project. This is a further step in trying to build a community for marathon swimmers and consequently clarify some of the misunderstandings that have recently arisen where swims of different types are conflated and directly equated with other and where we believe traditional marathon swimmers are misunderstood. Our goal here and with the forum is a community for marathon swimmers first, and hence any education of the wider community will derive from that.

      Online voting campaigns come with inherent problems that we are trying to reduce. Our initial goal is a peer selection and voting process that avoids such problems as:

      * Multiple votes per IP address by changing device (e.g. smartphone, Mac, Windows Linux)
      * Multiple votes per person. Some other awards can be easily fooled, the same person can vote multiple times by clearing browser cookies
      * Multiple registrations to swing votes
      * Calls for votes in communities who have idea on what merit they are voting
      * Publicising ongoing running results prior to close of voting which is proven to distort end results
      * People who have no interest or understanding of the award or achievement voting because they are friends or family members.

      By sending it out on Twitter, email, and multiple blogs, we hope to widen the marathon swimming community engagement. But this is as I said, by swimmers, for swimmers.


    • Jamie, I’m not sure why the number of voters has anything to do with the legitimacy of the outcome for something like this. Would you argue that the honor of being inducted into the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame is less meaningful because there are only 30 voters? Would you argue that Supreme Court judgments are bad because there are only nine justices?

      The members of the Marathon Swimmers Forum – which include you! – collectively have more knowledge and personal investment in our sport than any other community on Earth. These awards are meaningful because they represent the respect of PEERS – people who actually know something about what they’re voting on.

      Why is this less meaningful than thousands of votes by people who don’t know anything about swimming?

      We’re quite clear about what these awards are, and what they aren’t. They are the collective judgment of a community that – no matter how well it’s marketed – will probably always be relatively small. And that’s fine. No one is being forced to participate.


      • Evan – I get it…Your points are very good and I understand them. I am not in anyway saying that it would not be legitimate. I went back and read my reply and I apologize – it did not come out right. The point I was trying to make was that I would love to see more outsiders understand what marathon swimming is. I do see your direction and understand it. Please understand that this was not an attack of any kind – just trying to contribute. Now I must decide who to nominate. Cheers to you both…


  4. Pingback: Announcement: The Global Marathon Swimming Awards

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.