Irving Davids/Captain Roger W. Wheeler Memorial Award

1970  Joe Grossman

1925 – 1974


Joe Grossman is considered by many to be the Founding Father of the modern era of marathon swimming.

Joe was a public information officer by profession and traveled the world on his job. He took these opportunities to promote marathon swimming, to establish personnel contacts and lay the necessary groundwork to bring unity to the marathon swimming programs.


Joe was involved in all aspects of marathon swimming administration, organization and promotion.   He was instrumental in the formation of the World Professional Marathon Swimming Association and the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame, and served as the organization’s secretary. His zest for the betterment of professional swimmers, marathon races and solo swims was unparalleled. He worked tirelessly to increase the prize money and to develop an equitable distribution of the available funds.


He was relentless. His passion and attention to detail was extraordinary. There was nothing involved or related to open water swimming that did not fascinate him or interest him: pilots and prize money, pacing and pioneers, sponsorship and safety, history and hydration.


His efforts laid the foundation for others to build the systems incorporated into the present-day administration and organization of marathon swimming.


In 1970 he was the first to be presented the Irving Davids / Captain Roger W. Wheeler Memorial Award for Meritorious Service to Long Distance Swimming.

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