FINA Technical Open Water Swimming Committee
The FINA Technical Open Water Swimming Committee (TOWSC) is a group of experienced open water swimming volunteer experts from around the world who administers and officiates the pro and elite open water races in the world. They also organize clinics and serve as referees, judges and officials at major international competitions and write the rules and procedures that govern these competitions.
The history of the committee goes back to 1985.
In 1985, the FINA Bureau appointed a Long Distance Swimming Commission. Seven years later, the Technical Open Water Swimming Committee was formed in 1992. Allan Clarkson of Great Britain was nominated Chairman of the first committee.
Allan was followed by Hans A. Beijer of the Netherlands, Sid Cassidy of the USA and Ronnie Wong of Hong Kong. The Honorary Secretaries of the Committee included Dale Petranech of the USA (1992-1996), Flavio Bomio of Switzerland (1996-2000), Shelley Taylor-Smith of Australia (2000-2008) and Flavio Bomio (2008 - 2011).
Current TOWSC Members
The current members of the FINA Technical Open Water Swimming Committee include
1. Ronnie Wong Man Chiu, Chairman
2. Jorge Aurelio Delgado Panchana, Vice Chairman
3. Flavio Bomio, Honorary Secretary
4. Sid Cassidy, Member
5. Khwaja Aziz, Member
6. Valerijus Belovas, Member
7. Tomas Haces German, Member
8. Samuel Greetham, Member
9. Zouheir El Moufti, Member
10. Andrea Prayer, Member
11. John West, Member
12. Noam Zwi, Member
13. Washington Beltran, Events Sub-Committee
14. Hatem Seifallah Mohamed Ibrahim, Events Sub-Committee
15. Shelley Taylor-Smith, Events Sub-Committee
16. Dennis Miller, FINA Bureau Liaison
These volunteers implemented a number of new safety protocols, procedures and policies while working closely with race directors and other volunteers from around the world. Collectively, they officiate the 5K, 5K Team Time Trial, 10K, 25K and Olympic 10K Marathon Swim races at the FINA 10km Marathon Swimming World Cup series, the FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix series, the FINA World Junior Open Water Swimming Championships, and the Olympics.
Olympic 10K Marathon Swim
As members of the FINA Technical Open Water Swimming Committee, American Sid Cassidy, Australian Chris Guesdon, and Fijian Dennis Miller literally mapped out the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim concept on a napkin in a restaurant. This revolutionary plan eventually led to the sport of open water swimming being added to the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Olympics.
Cassidy gives the background during his speech at the 2011 Global Open Water Swimming Conference in New York City:
Ambassadors of the Sport
Among their responsibilities, members of the FINA Technical Open Water Swimming Committee attend competitions, meet coaches and promote the sport in various ways: speeches, clinics, publications, competitions and meetings. In June 2011, Delgado explained the role of the FINA Technical Open Water Swimming Committee and the future of the sport at the United Nations during the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame awards ceremonies:
FINA 10KM Marathon Swimming World Cup Series
The FINA 10KM Marathon Swimming World Cup series consists of races in:
Lac St-Jean (Canada)
Lac Mégantic (Canada)
FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix Series
The FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix series consists of race in
Sante Fe-Coronda (Argentina)
Sumidero Canyon (Mexico)
Lac St-Jean (Canada)
Lac Memphrémagog (Canada)
Ohrid Lake (Macedonia)
Jabelah (Syria – cancelled in 2011)