The winners of the 2012 H2Open Awards – designed to celebrate achievement in open water swimming – will be announced at the H2Open Day on 28 April. Meanwhile, the judges have voted and we can reveal the shortlists.
Roger Allsopp's inspirational swim to become the oldest person to conquer the English Channel, along with his incredible fund raising efforts, have earned him an appearance in three shortlists: Charity Swim of the Year, Inspirational Swim of the Year and Open Water Swimmer of the Year. In the first two of these he's head-to-head with David Walliams, the comedian who swam the length of the Thames, and the only other person to be short-listed in more than one category.
The Coach of the Year Award shortlist includes two contributors to H2Open, Paul Newsome and Dan Bullock, alongside Devon-based sculpture and swim teacher Kari Furre and German coach Bernd Berkhahn, whose swimmers picked up all four titles at the 2011 European Junior Open Water Swimming Championships in Navia, Spain.
Those championships made the shortlist for International Swim of the Year, which includes two Australian swims – the Lorne Pier to Pub and the Rottnest Channel swim. For the Best UK Event judges had to choose between events as diverse as those of the Great Swim Series and the British Long Distance Swimming Association's two-way Windermere, a 20-mile challenge that requires competitors to swim without wetsuits.
The Open Water Ambassador of the Year caused a slight difficulty as three of our judges (Colin Hill, Kate Rew and Steven Munatones) received nominations and were therefore excluded from voting in that category. Nevertheless, all three made it onto the shortlist with Thomas Noblett, also known as 'The Gladiator' and part of the record-breaking 12-way Windermere relay team, taking the final slot.
Finally, the Innovation of the Year Award threw up the question of what exactly is an innovation. For many people, it's a new product or gadget, but how about an alternative race format? The Henley Swim team introduced pursuit style team swimming to their Queenford Lake relays last year, which was nominated and now sits on the shortlist competing with product innovations from Finis, Swimovate and Zoggs.
Several judges commented on the quality of the nominations overall and the difficulty in making decisions, so congratulations to all nominees, as well as those shortlisted.
The judging panel comprised:
- Cassandra Patten, Bronze medallist, 2008 Beijing Olympics Marathon Swim
- Duncan Goodhew, Olympic Gold medallist and swimming ambassador
- Steven Munatones, former 25km open water swimming world champion and founder of open water source
- Kate Rew, founder, Outdoor Swimming Society
- Nick Adams, President, Channel Swimming and Piloting Federation
- Colin Hill, Marathon Swimming Technical Manager for the London 2012 Olympics
Charity Swim of the Year
- Channelling Positivity
- David Walliams
- Roger Allsopp
International Swim of the Year
- 2011 European Open Water Swimming Junior Championships at Navia
- Lorne Pier to Pub Swim
- Rottnest Channel Swim
- The Hellespont
Best UK Event
- BLDSA 2-Way Windermere
- Bridge to Bridge (Henley to Marlow, River Thames)
- British Gas Great British Swim Series
- Dart 10km
Coach of the Year
- Bernd Berkhahn
- Dan Bullock
- Kari Furre
- Paul Newsome
Innovation of the Year
- AquaPulse Waterproof Heart Rate Monitor from Finis
- Queenford Lake Relays
- Swimovate Poolmate
- Zoggs Predator Flex - Polarized
Inspirational Swim of the Year
- David Walliams, Thames swimmer
- Diana Nyad, Cuba to Florida attempt
- Roger Allsopp – oldest ever Channel swimmer
- Windermere 12-way Warriors
Open Water Ambassador of the Year
- Colin Hill
- Kate Rew
- Steven Munatones
- Thomas Noblett
Open Water Swimmer of the Year
- Forrest Nelson
- Oliver (Ollie) Wilkinson
- Roger Allsopp
- Stephen Redmond
David Walliams approaches Teddington Lock during his Thames Swim