Thank you very much for voting for the 2008 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year and the World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year. Your participation was greatly appreciated.
The purpose of the poll was to recognize all the nominees who, in turn, represent all that is good with open water swimming and its enthusiasts.
The nominees from 11 countries (America, Australia, Bulgaria, Chile, China, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, Russia, South Africa and the U.K.) ranged from world-class teenage swimmers to administrators who have guided the sport for decades.
As voted by our readers, the 2008 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year is Edith van Dijk of the Netherlands who edged out Marcia Cleveland of Chicago.
Like a classic 25K race, the two women were always among the leaders from the start. They remained a great pace throughout the polling period and were neck-and-neck week-in and week-out. Towards the end, voters enabled Edith to cap off the Olympic year with a closing surge, just as she has done so many times throughout her athletic career at major international competitions.
Edith van Dijk has done it all: a mother (shown with her daughter and a competitor above), an Olympian, a six-time world champion, a top pro marathon swimmer, a competitive pool swimmer and an English Channel swimmer with a doctorate in economics and a movie credit to boot.
As she announced her retirement at the 2008 European Open Water Swimming Championships, the sport will miss this woman of stature and remarkable abilities.
Congratulations, Edith. The global open water swimming community salutes you and your fellow nominees.