I discovered with joy and surprize the fact that the World of Open Water Swimming Association (a.k.a. WOWSA) in order to encourage the development and promotion of open water swimming, issues upon request and for a fee diplomas celebrating the success, swimming, at the request and indications of the applicant.
I appreciate this availability of WOWSA, because I consider that there are a lot of athletes around the world, who would like to formalize and capture their own effort, which they consider great in a diploma, worthy of being framed.
The WOWSA message, on their website:
Want a digital certificate of your proudest swim achievement to frame or share on social media? Want to honor a friend? For a small fee, we will authenticate your swim in our records and present you with a custom certificate.
As per Google Translate (translation to Romanian):
Doriți un certificat digital al celei mai mândre realizări de înot pentru a încadra sau distribui pe rețelele sociale? Vrei să onorezi un prieten? Pentru o mică taxă, vă vom autentifica înotul în evidența noastră și vă vom prezenta un certificat personalizat.
To obtain this diploma, those interested fill in on the WOWSA website, on the main page, a form with the following
• what type of achievement do you want to announce (of a specific event, a certain distance, etc.)?
• the official name of the event (it is an open field - you can fill in what you want)
• on what date you had the achievement
• in what Country, City you had the achievement
• first name, last name, email
And you press the "Submit" button.
A few days later you will receive an email from a founding member, with a diploma in small format and an encouraging message that you have achieved with your swimming what 99.9% of the population can not, with swimming.
If you want to receive the diploma in good print format and share online, it is necessary to pay a fee of $ 49.95, to encourage and support the association's efforts to develop our beloved sport.
I would consider this availability as a "DO LIKE THAT, YES" and I think that any athlete in good faith, who wants to immortalize in a personalized diploma, with the signatures of the WOWSA management, his own effort - could and maybe even should do that.
I also tried this WOWSA product and applied for a diploma for a swim in Lake Buftea, Romania. At the time of completion I used a date fictional which came to my mind .. July 4, 2020, without previously checking if I really swam there.
Now I discover, accidentally, that I really had a training that day, in Buftea Lake, so maybe I will pay the price for this diploma, to have a training to put on the frame.
I filled in the form and a few days later I received the message mentioned above.
• to send any kind of picture, video material. We are not referring here to continuous filming (this is not required by any sports authority!), But that minimum of filming sequences from the start, during swimming - different situations and locations and water exit.
• to send documentation made by an independent observer or more, depending on the duration of the swimming, which does not have affinities or possible moral debts
• send GPS coordinates, tracker for the entire duration of the swim
• to demonstrate weather conditions
• send media references
• to write the story of the swim, how it went
• to send the proof of swimming the distance, on the shortest route, in order to respect the repeatability criteria
• to be a recognized member of the association, with a history in this sport to recommend me, see the MSF database, etc.
Mihai also applied for and obtained a diploma of merit for swimming in neoprene (wetsuit, not according to marathon swimming rules) from Razelm Lake, which he performed in my company at a remarkable level; and the diploma was issued on the basis of the same brief information, provided by swimmer.
My word (answering on the site to the 5 information requests/ questions) was enough, I practically got a diploma for something I didn't do. In other words, I am convinced that WOWSA offered in good faith this possibility of issuing diplomas in anticipation of an honest, moral and fully sporty spirit of the applicant athlete; WOWSA is not and should not be an open water swimming investigator or a ratifier of unprecedented performance.
you have a special swimming, which respects the rules of Marathon Swimming and you are proud of it and the fact that you performed it according to some pre-established rules
• you have previously established material, support - which meets the minimum quality / content conditions
And you want international ratification, recognition of the existence of swimming and its fulfilment according to the historical rules more than 100 years old, from an independent, renowned association, following an objective screening of documentation, conducted by a committee elected "on the eyebrow", I recommend using the Marathon Swimmers Federation.
The review committee includes renowned swimmers, such as Sarah Thomas, the only person to swim the English Channel 4 times in a single effort, Caroline Block - the athlete who swam the Northern Channel 4 times, or event organizers such as the NY Open Water etc. The Committee is this (link). Which makes the "diplomas" issued by the Marathon Swimmers Federation an undeniable proof of compliance with the rules of Marathon Swimming.
Such differences in the interpretation / recognition of swimming have also appeared in historical swimming such as that of Diana Nyad, writes The Guardian, where a lot of specialists in the field have questioned the supporting documentation provided by the swimmer, thus highlighting a very big difference in approach. in recognition of the merits of an athlete. Ms. Nyad's swimming is recognized by WOWSA, but has never been recognized by MSF.
I can't help but wonder, in this case - if I didn't just frame the diploma obtained online, show it to my friends at home or use it as a source of inspiration and motivation for my own future swimming, and instead, I would initiate a public media promotion with this diploma about swimming in Buftea Lake, as an international recognition of my efforts, possibly to obtain sponsorships, "authority" and non-educated in marathon swimming public recognition, would this be from the author an imposture in sports?
For the readers:
If you wish, at a later date, we can also write about the WOWSA and MSF awards:
• who can nominate candidates?
• who can vote (person voting: with or without swimming experience?)
• how many times can you vote (can a person vote more than once or not?)
After the publication of this material:
The material has been published by the Marathon Swimmers Federation (MSF) community, and in the comments sections of the Facebook post, WOWSA, MSF and myself have expressed points of view over WOWSA method of diploma issuance.