Irving Davids/Captain Roger W. Wheeler Memorial Award

2013 Ned Denison


In addition to his coaching, administration and leadership in open water swimming, Ned Denison remains an extraordinarily accomplished marathon swimmer. He is the kind of person that you want on your boat at night. He is the friend you want standing onshore. He is the administrator who makes things happen while making everyone else around feel special. He combines the best traits and skills of a drill sergeant, an orchestra conductor, and your best college buddy. Marathon swimming is fortunate to have him.


As an administrator, he recruited hundreds of swimmers to become successful marathon swimmers. He started and led the marathon craze in Cork, Ireland, with many swimmers and relays annually booked for English Channel crossings. He started the 16k Cork to Cobh swim as well as the Cork distance and Irish Champion of Champions Swim in 2009 with fifty attendees. Ned is Chairman of Ireland’s first National Open Water Committee and author of the most current website materials. In 2010, Ireland placed two swimmers in the European Open Water Champiopnships for the first time. He assembled a mailing list and email list of over 3000 swimmers in Ireland to promote open water events. In 2006, he organized 94 Irish swimmers to travel to the Alcatraz Swim in California, the largest international group to participate in the swim. He has delivered more than fifteen marathon swimming seminars across Ireland and helped to sign up seventeen solo English Channel aspirants in 2010. He started and has managed the Irish Marathon Group with 163 swimmers.


Denison is also a very good open water swimmer and has competed marathon swims of 25k or longer including: the English Channel (35k), around Manhattan Island Swim (47k), False Bay South Africa (34k, home of the great white sharks), Catalina Channel (34k), Santa Barbara Channel (31k), around the Island of Jersey (54k), Lake Zurich (26k) and around the islands of Great Island and Valentia Island, both 26k and temperatures of 54° F. Other notable swims include: Rottnest (20k), Cork to Cobh (Ireland), Inishbofin Island Ireland (13k), Lake Champlain New York (13k), Blackrock to Cobh Ireland, around Robin Island (11k), Cape Point South Africa (8k), Rathin Island Northern Ireland (11k) and three Champion of Champions Swims of approximately 5k distances. He also participated in three Alcatraz swims, each of 3k distance.


Denison has motivated, educated, organized and assisted thousands of swimmers from California (USA) to Cork (IRE) in a sport that he passionately serves with compassion, experience and a relentless drive. He is a mountain of a man who not only is a high-achieving marathon swimmer in his own right, but a gem of the open water world who is also giving a great deal back to the sport by helping others achieve their dreams.

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