Guesdon, the mastermind behind the vision of the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim and its inclusion in the 2008 Beijing, 2012 London and the 2016 Rio Olympics, has been involved in the sport as a swimmer, event organizer, administrator, technical official, escort, lobbyist, historian and documentarian extraordinaire.
If the world of open water swimming has a man behind the scenes, certainly 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.
Open Water Swimming Roles
Guesdon 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 Technical Open Water Swimming Committee between 1996 and 2000. He was the referee at the 1998 FINA World Swimming Championships in Perth, Australia 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, Asia Beach Games Bali (Indonesia), SEA Games Jakarta 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 and Crotone (Italy), Terracina (Italy), Evian (France), 93K 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.
Olympic 10km Marathon Swim
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 blueprint for the good of the sport globally and ultimately adapted for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. is 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 Guesdon.
In his home country of Australia, Guesdon 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 Long Distance and Marathon Swimming Manual which are both 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 and 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), Magnetic Island to Townsville (Aus), 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.
Open Water/Marathon Swimming Organisations & Events
- Participated at National and International level from 1964-2011
- Founder and Inaugural President - Australian Long Distance Swimming Federation – founded in Tasmania 1973. President from 1973 until merger under the umbrella of Swimming Australia
- Bureau member International Long Distance Swimming Federation – Founded in Paris1953- from 1974 till FINA umbrella took control in 1986
- Marathon Swimming event organiser and promoter in Tasmania and throughout all states of Australia 1973- 2000. Conducted international events and all Australian open water championships as meet director.
- Swimming Australia -1988 Founding Member of the inaugural Australian Open Water Swimming Committee.
- Secretary of Australian Open Water swimming Committee for 13 consecutive years 1988 - 2000.
- Member FINA Open Water Swimming Technical Committee 1996-2000
- Architect of the model 10km marathon swimming event, designed especially to be acceptable as an Olympic Games marathon swimming event – presented to the FINA OWS Technical committee meeting of 1997 which was accepted as the blueprint and adapted for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Swimming Marathon
- FINA accredited OWS Referee from 1992-2008
- Attended in an official capacity at every Australian National Open Water Swimming Championships since inception to present day December 08
- Life member Swimming Tasmania
Attended the following swims in capacity as Australian competitor or as Australian team manager
- International Long Distance Swimming Federation events
- World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation events
- World Championships /World Circuit Events
- Canadian Events - Lake Chibougamau Quebec Marathon , Lake Memphramagog, Lake Saint Jean, Saguenay River , Chicoutimi, Lake Ontario, Toronto La Tuque, Quebec – Lac La Tuque 24 hour marathon also individual event
- Egypt Swims - Nile River Marathon, The Suez Canal Marathon
- US Swims – The Atlantic City Marathon, Lake Michigan
- Italy - Capri -Napoli World Championship event
Participated as a competitor, organiser, administrator and official
- Race from Bridgewater Bridge to Hobart (Tasman) Bridge marathon 1976 – participant and also as meet director
- International Marathon Kingston to Constitution Dock race – Meet director, organiser, referee.
- Australian Long Distance Swimming Championships held 1973-1988 – the events of 25kms or over held in Tasmania, Derwent River, Manly, NSW until these events came under ASI (Swimming Australia) in 1988 – organiser of all these championships.
- Then as Secretary of Australian OW Swimming Committee was meet director of all Australian OWS Championships during tenure of the OWS Committee
- Administrator and /or Official at every Tasmanian and Australian championships since 1973
- Swimming Australia National Technical Official assessor appointed for 2008 – 2012
Individual events competed
- Pioneered Hong Kong Lifeguards Repulse Bay round Silver Island & return swim in 1977 (now a FINA championship event)
- Daugo Island to Ela Beach Marathon Race, Papua New Guinea
- Isle of Capri Italy Circumnavigation swim,
- La Tuque Quebec 24 hour relay - team leader/handler Australian 24 hour relay team
- La Tuque, Quebec marathon, individual.
- New Norfolk to Cadbury Point, Tasmania 30km.- solo swim
- Constitution Dock to Kingston Beach swim, Kingston Regatta Tasmania
- Howrah Beach to Long Beach Sandy Bay Tasmania
- Montague Bay to Wrest Point, “Swim for Heart” Heart Foundation fundraiser promotion swim
Events controlled or sanctioned by Swimming Australia/FINA
- State Championships – organised and meet director and referee, officiated at every Tasmanian State OWS Championships
- National Championships – organised, administered and officiated at every Australian OWS championships, all distances since inception of OWS
- FINA Continental Championships – Meet Director and Referee at Oceania Championships
- South Pacific Games – OWS referee
- Pan Pacific Championships – has held positions of Organiser, Meet Director, Official and National (Aus) Team Manager at Pan Pacs Championships
- FINA World Championships – National Team Manager (Australia), Referee/ Technical Official
- FINA OWS Grand Prix events – International Referee, National Team Manager (Aus)
Team Manager and National Programmer of successful gold medal winning Australian OWS Teams
- 1975 and 1976 ILDSF World Championship Capri-Napoli Italy.
- 1976 24 hours La Tuque team marathon – Canada
- 1992 OWS race and Australian Team altitude training camp Colorado USA
- 1994 Pan Pacific Championships and Pre World Marathon – Atlanta USA – medallists
- 1994 Open Water Pre Worlds Marathon races San Felice & Crotone Italy
- 1994 FINA World Championships Terracina Italy – gold medal world champion team & gold medal individual
- 1996 FINA World Cup Evian France –won gold medals champion team & 2 gold individuals
- 1996 – International Relay Malta to Sicily - 90km race – Manager Australian team - winners Champion Team
International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame
- 1997 International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Certificate of Merit – Coach/Administration
- 2009 International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Inductee
- 2010 International Swimming Hall of Fame – Davids - Wheeler Award
FINA Open Water Swimming Clinics
- Conducted and presented FINA OWS development clinics in Oceania/Pacific region and also into other continents. Have addressed clinics in Mombassa, Kenya, Suva Fiji x 2, Nadi Fiji, Rarotonga Cook Islands, Rosario Argentina, Bali Indonesia and Jakarta Indonesia.
Channel Swimming Association
- International Representative appointed 2007 onwards
- Life member appointed 1973
- First Tasmanian to attempt the English Channel
- Co-author with Bill Ford of the Australian Long Distance and Marathon Swimming Manual
- Author FINA OWS manual
Articles and reports for publications 1964-1999
- all states’ swimming newsletters & websites
- Australian OWS achievements
- FINA magazine
- local press and publicity articles
- regular contributor to online swimming sites
Record of Participation 1998-2011
- FINA accredited Open Water Swimming Referee 1992 to December 2008
- Manager of the Australian Open Water Swimming Team 1991-1996
- Member of the FINA Open Water Swimming Technical Committee 1996-2000
- International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Certificate of Merit 1997 International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Inductee 2009
- English Channel Swimming Association - International representative 2007
- International Swimming Hall of Fame Davids Wheeler Award recipient 2010
- 1998 Perth World Championships - –member FINA OWS Technical Committee – Organising Committee, Chief Referee for 5km OWS and a Referee for 25km
- 1997 Brisbane - Oceania Championships – OWS Event Organiser and Referee
- 1999 Melbourne Pan Pacific Championships – OWS Event Organiser/Director and Referee
- 2000 Argentina – participated as lecturer in FINA ‘s world first international Open Water Swimming Clinic
- 2000 Fiji – Conducted FINA Open Water Swimming Technical Officials Clinic and lecturer
- 2001 Kenya – Mombassa - conducted FINA Open Water Swimming Technical Officials Clinic
- 2003 Fiji - South Pacific Games, Event Referee & Event Manager OWS events, all sessions
- 2004 Dubai – FINA OWS World Championships, assistant referee and technical official all sessions
- 2004 Hawaii – Referee Hawaiian OWS event “The Big Swim”, and made presentation at OWS forum.
- 2006 Fiji - FINA/ IOC Olympic solidarity development programme conducted clinic and OWS lecturer, technical officials training, assessment, national administration infrastructure processes & procedures, team coaching programmes, all sessions
- 2006 Cairns/Palm Cove - Oceania Swimming Championships, OWS referee, all OWS sessions
- 2007 Australia- Melbourne 2007 FINA World Championship – Assistant Referee Open Water
- 2007 Darwin - Arafura Games - Event Technical Director Organiser and Referee for Open Water- all sessions
- 2007 Cook Islands – FINA programme clinic lecturer, technical officials training, assessment, national administration infrastructure processes & procedures, coaching programmes,
- 2008 Rotorua, New Zealand – Appointed to Oceania Swimming Championships as OWS Referee (unable to attend)
- 2008 Bali, Indonesia, Appointed to Asian Beach Games as Marathon Swimming Referee and participated as technical advisor representative at BABGOC meetings
- 2011 Indonesia, Appointed to the South East Asian Games as Marathon Swimming as technical and safety director and advisor representative at INASOC meetings
- 1988-2001 - Secretary Australian Open Water Swimming Technical Committee
- 1991 to 2011 Australian OWS Open & Age Swimming Championships, OWS Championships: Referee or Assistant Referee, all events, all sessions.
- 2008 – 2012 - Appointed as a Swimming Australia National Technical Official Assessor
- Life Member Tasmanian Swimming
- 1991 to 2008 Swimming Tasmania OWS Championships: organiser, referee all events, all sessions.
- 2004 - Swimming Tasmania OWS Clinic; Technical Official training lecturer [2 days] 4 sessions
- 2004 - Swimming Victoria OWS Clinic: Technical Official training lecturer
- 2007 - Swimming Tasmania OWS Clinic;
- Tasmania Regional OWS events: 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009.2010,2011
- Swimming Tasmania OWS Clinics; providing OWS education to administrators & officials.
- International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame
- SEA Games A Smashing Success
- Chris Guesdon's website
- How Did Marathon Swimming Get Into The Olympics?
- Crisis Creates Opportunity In Australia
- People Who Changed The World Of Open Water Swimming
- The Feeling Of Finishing, From Fatigue To Felicity
- Lake Toba Festival Hosts 117 km World Super Swim
- World Super Swim Record Holders