Irving Davids/Captain Roger W. Wheeler Memorial

Conceived and donated by the New England Marathon Swimming Association in honor of Irving Davids and Captain Roger W. Wheeler, this award recognizes contributors to the administration of open water swimming.



Chris Guesdon
Shelley Taylor-Smith  

Chris, the mastermind behind the vision of the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim and its inclusion in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, 2012 London Olympics and the 2016 Rio Olympics has been involved in the sport as a swimmer, event organizer, administrator, technical official, escort, lobbyist, historian and documenter  extraordinaire.

 If the world of open water swimming has a man behind the scenes, certainly Chris Guesdon is that man who has been selflessly and passionately devoted to the sport since 1968. Tireless, fair, relentless and visionary, he has truly contributed to the marathon swimming world.

Chris was a FINA-accredited Open Water Swimming Referee 1992-2008 and was the manager of the Australian all conquering Open Water Swimming Team during the period 1991-1996, member of the FINA Open Water Swimming Technical Committee between 1996 & 2000. He was the referee at the 1998 Perth World Championships and organized the open water events at the 1998 Brisbane Oceania Championships, the 1999 Melbourne Pan Pacific Championships, 2003 Fiji South Pacific Games, 1991-2008 Tasmania Open Water Swimming Championships and the 2007 Darwin Arafura Games as well as lectured at the Argentina International Open Water Swimming Clinic, the Fiji Technical Officials Clinic, the Mombasa, Kenya Technical Officials Clinic. He also competed, refereed, managed swimmers or lectured in Dubai, Hawaii, Suva (Fiji), Cairns, Melbourne, Rarotonga (Cook Islands), Rotorua (New Zealand), Tasmania, Bali (Indonesia), Lac Chibougamau (Canada), Rosario (Argentina), Lac Memphramagog (Canada), Lac St-Jean (Canada), Saguenay River (Canada), Chicoutimi (Canada), Nile river, Suez Canal, Atlantic City (New Jersey), Lake Michigan, Capri-Napoli (Italy), Lake Ontario, Atlanta (Georgia), San Felice & Crotone (Italy), Terracina (Italy), Evian (France), 90K Relay from Malta to Sicily and Lac La Tuque, an epic 24-hour race in Canada.  His devotion and knowledge of the sport is unquestioned.

But his legacy will be as the  architect of - and passionate lobbyist for - the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim which he designed to be acceptable as an Olympic Games marathon swimming event. He initially presented the plan - initially sketched out on a napkin - the idea to the FINA Technical Open Water Swimming Committee in 1998 where it was accepted as the optimal blueprintfor the good of the sport globally and ultimately adapted for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
His reach has truly been global with race experiences throughout Oceania, Asia, Africa the Americas and Europe. The success of the current professional marathon world has a solid foundation to continue growth, thanks to the largely unseen, but greatly appreciated, efforts of Chris.

The Marathon Swimming Hall of Famer Leaves a Fantastic Legacy;

In his home country of Australia, Chris was the Secretary of Australian Open Water Swimming Committee 1988-2001, partly for which he received the Australian Sports Medal in 2000. He was the founder of the Australian Long Distance Swimming Federation, which he started to lead from Tasmania in 1973, and a bureau member of the International Long Distance Swimming Federation, which existed between its founding in Paris in 1953 until 1974.

He co-authored both the comprehensive and authoritative Australian Long Distance and Marathon Swimming Manual and the FINA Open Water Swimming Manual which is used across the globe.

But he also completely understood the perspective of the athletes. He competed in 20 International marathons across the globe and was crowned Australian Marathon Swimming Champion in 1977   & 1981.

He pioneered the Hong Kong Lifeguards Repulse Bay Round Silver Island & Return swim in 1977 (now a FINA 10K World Cup event) and participated in the Daugo Island to Ela Beach Marathon Race (Papua New Guinea), Isle of Capri (Italy) Circumnavigation Swim, Lac La Tuque 24-hour relay, an English Channel attempt and a slew of swims throughout Tasmania: 30K New Norfolk to Cadbury Point Swim, Constitution Dock to Kingston Beach Swim, Howrah Beach to Long Beach Sandy Bay and Montague Bay to Wrest Point Swim and the famous Trans Derwent

A man of the world and superstar of our sport.


Previous Award Recipients...

1970  Joe Grossman
1971  Gerald Forsberg
1972  Buck Dawson
1973  Willy van Rysel
1974  Jerry Nason
1975  R. and A. Scott

1976  Aquatique Club Dulac St. Jean
1977  Connie Wennerberg
1978  Charles E. Silvia
1979  Dennis Matuch
1980-2001  Award Retired
2002  James J. Doty
2003  British Long Distance Swimming Association

2004  Roger & Val Parsons
2005  Lynn Blouin
2006  Dale Petranech
2007  Silvia Dalotto
2008  Shelley Taylor-Smith
2009  Mike Read


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