The ILDSA Annual Awards

As part of our vision to “Be a forum for rewarding and recognising Irish swims and swimmers”, after the end of each swimming season the ILDSA hosts an annual awards event at a location in Ireland. 

The awards are the highlight of the year where the ILDSA rewards, recognises and celebrates the passionate and vibrant long distance swimming community and their achievements. As a national organization, the ILDSA alternates the location of the event around the country, and in recent years it has also been live streamed for those that are unable to attend in person.

Whilst we enthusiastically celebrate the current explosion and participation in open water swimming we also respectfully continue to search out our historical swims and swimmers and recognise the achievements of those that were pioneers in open water swimming before many of us were born.

There are 35 categories of awards.

Nominations for the following awards are provided by the public. 

Swimmer of the Year

This ILDSA Award is for a female swimmer Age 18 + in the year of the swim, who has demonstrated outstanding achievements with respect to marathon swimming during this season. This could include the number of marathon swims completed, distance swam, triple crown accolades and may also have demonstrated significant contribution to their community as part of their achievements.

2022 Winner: Elaine Burrows Dillane

Previous winners

This ILDSA Award is for a male swimmer Age 18 + in the year of the swim, who has demonstrated outstanding achievements with respect to marathon swimming during this season. This could include the number of marathon swims completed, distance swam, triple crown accolades and may also have demonstrated significant contribution to their community as part of their achievements.

2022 Winner: Dave Berry

Previous winners

This ILDSA Award is for the Junior Female (Under 18 + in the year of the swim), having completed a min of a 3k open water swim in skins in this season.

2022 Winner: Jessika Robson

Previous winners

This ILDSA Award is for the Junior Male (Under 18 + in the year of the swim), having completed a min of a 3k open water swim in skins in this season.

2022 Winner: Evin Curley

Previous winners

Best Newcomer

The ILDSA Senior Female Best Newcomer Award (Age 18 + in the year of the swim) is awarded to recognise the achievements of a swimmer that has completed their first marathon swim (10km+) or that has completed their first swim at either 10 miles+ or 25km+ in this season.

2022 Winner: Denise Ganly

Previous winners

The ILDSA Senior Male Best Newcomer Award (Age 18 + in the year of the swim) is awarded to recognise the achievements of a swimmer that has completed their first marathon swim (10km+) or that has completed their first swim at either 10 miles+ or 25km+ in this season.

2022 Winner: John Curley

Previous winners

Provincial Swimmer of the Year

This award requires the swimmer to reside in the province during the past year. Swimmers who move during the year will not be penalized. Province of birth is not a factor – for example, a Kerryman living in Dublin could win the Leinster award.

It is awarded for the most impressive record during the year. It could be multiple swims or just one big swim. Extra credit given for longest distance, difficulty, steps up from the swimmer’s previous best.

Specific Awards

The most impressive swim in Irish waters, with extra credit given for longest distance, difficulty, step up from the swimmer’s previous best.

2022 Winner: Team Bits Missing – North Channel Relay

Previous winners

This takes into account many factors. The key ones are safety and enjoyment of the swimmers and volunteers. Extra credit is given to swims with natural courses (as opposed to around 3 buoys), innovation, food and hot drinks, fun prizes and lots of medals.

2022 Winner: Vibes & Scribes Lee Swim – Cork

Previous winners

This ILDSA Award is given to the person or persons who have increased the profile of open water swimming in Ireland in that year. This goes to the administrator, organiser, volunteer, pilot, crew, etc. who did the most to advance or just keep their event committee going.

2022 Winner: Ger Kennedy

Previous winners

Awarded to the person who brings the most joy to the sport and/or brings out the best in others. This might go for sportsmanship, corralling swimmers for a new event, raising money for charity, crewing for 12 hours in the rain, laughing and thanking all when a plan fails miserably due to adverse weather or a human mistake.

2022 Winner: Marie Watson

Previous winners

This award goes to the person who has found joy, courage and solace in the water, who has faced life’s challenges and has benefited from the energy swimming brings to support them on their journey having a positive impact on themselves and on those around them.

2022 Winner: Bridget Wing

Previous winners

This ILDSA Award is for the most impressive swim outside of Ireland by an Irish open water swimmer with extra credit given for longest distance, difficulty, a first ever swim, step up from the swimmer’s previous best.

2022 Winner: Grainne Moss – Foveaux Strait, New Zealand

Previous winners

For services, dedication, skill, commitment and results in Open Water Coaching.

2022 Winner: Eilís Burns

Previous winners

This prestigious award is awarded for a pioneering swim in Irish waters, or by a swimmer from Ireland anywhere in the world, with extra credit given for longest distance, difficulty, a first ever swim, step up from the swimmer’s previous best.

2022 Winner: Great Blasket to Skellig Míchel Relay

Bernard Lynch, Jim Shalloo, Carol Cashell, Ned Denison, Alan Rodgers

Previous winners

Nominations for the following awards are not provided by the public.

In some cases they are based on recorded achievements and awarded to all swimmers who meet the criteria. In other cases the award winners are selected by the ILDSA committee in collaboration with the award’s sponsor.

In July 2021 the Irish Long Distance Swimming Association with great pride announced the open water swimming Irish Triple Crown, giving reasons to achieve and celebrate the bodies of water around Ireland. The Irish Triple Crown is bestowed upon the completion of 3 marathon swims: Fastnet, Galway Bay, and North Channel.

2022 Awards: Grainne Moss, Christopher Judge

Previous awards

The original Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming is a marathon swimming challenge consisting of three historically important swims: English Channel, North Channel and Bristol Channel.

2022 Awards: Sîan Clement, Elaine Burrows Dillane, Sarah Philpott, Fergal Somerville, Stephen Price

Previous awards

Ireland Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honors Class

2022 Honorees: Elaine Burrows Dillane, Rosie Folie, Finbarr Hedderman, Kevin Williams, Noel Browne

Previous honorees

This ILDSA Award is for the swim that catches the attention of every marathon swimmer and if they are honest they replied: “I am jealous”. 

2022 Winner: Sarah Thomas – first North Channel 2-way

Previous winners

This award is for the most arduous swim on the Island of Ireland (non North Channel), extra credit given for distance, conditions and difficulty.

2022 Winners: Fenit Funky Femmes – Lighthouse to Lighthouse (Fenit to Loop Head)

Elaine Burrows Dillane, Caroline Corkery, Aisling Brosnan, Sandra Martin

Previous awards

Mercedes Gleitze North Channel Most Meritorious Award is awarded to the swimmer who endured the most difficult circumstances during their North Channel swim.

2022 Winner: Jessi Lidstone Harewicz

Previous winners

Awarded to the fastest North Channel Solo Swim of the season.

2022 Winner: Andrew Donaldson – 9:13:57

Previous winners

For the fastest North Channel relay regardless of team size.

2022 Winners: Myrtleville Vikings – 12:37:05

Andrew Powell, Frank Hallissey, Darren Morrissey, Karen Deenihan

Previous winners

This is awarded to the first person to represent their country on the North Channel.

2022 Winners:

Sîan Clement – Wales
Barbara Fernandez – Chile
Alessandra Rossi Cima – Brazil
Jessi Lidstone Harewicz – Canada
Dina Levačić – Croatia
Paul Georgescu – Romania
Vitaliy Stupak – Ukraine
Andrew Donaldson – Scotland
Victor Piñero – Argentina

Previous winners

ILDSA (Non North Channel) Ratified Swims Island of Ireland

Presentation of ILDSA medals to those who have had a non-North Channel marathon swim ratified during the swim season.

Click this link to search for award recipients.

Fastnet Swim Awards

Presentation of ILDSA medals to those who have completed the Fastnet Swim during the swim season.

Click this link to see more information about the swim.

English Channel Medals
North Channel Medals & Hats
North Channel Sub 10 Club
Dal Riata Medals
Guinness World Records
Seven Oceans Medals
12th ILDSA Annual Awards for the 2019 season, held in Kinsale in February 2020