Christopher Guesdon

From Openwaterpedia
Christopher Guesdon, Inductee of the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame, Class of 2009
Christopher Guesdon is a member of the Australian Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Class of 2020
Chris Guesdon received the Australian Sports Medal in 2000
Sid Cassidy, Chris Guesdon, Dennis Miller, architects of the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim at the world OWS titles held in Dubai in 2004

Christopher Guesdon is an open water swimming administrator, coach and swimmer from Australia who serves a Marathon Swimming Mentor. He was inducted in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame as an Honour Administrator in 2009. He served on the Board of Directors of the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame prior to organizational structural changes in 2015 and was Chairman of the Executive Committee from 2016-2018. He was the architect of the Olympic 10km Marathon Swim along with Dennis Miller and Sid Cassidy and received the 2018 Poseidon Award.


Guesdon is passionate about the sport of marathon swimming. His biography illustrates this in spades. His dedication persists.

In the world of open water swimming his length of career is unparalleled. Always as a volunteer in honorary positions. Around the globe and on every continent this career has spanned over half a century. In fact, he has committed to 56 years of continuous involvement in the open water world as a marathon swimmer, leader, event organiser administrator & technical official. As indicated below Chris has been an active participant in every possible phase of Open Water/Marathon Swimming.

His most recent contribution is that he has been the strategic thinker, motivator and instigator in the reorganization of the IMSHOF following its return to the ISHOF as a self-governing committee within the ISHOF structure. His strategic thinking has firmed the organisation by cementing the peak body firmly in the aquatic world as one of the major international swimming bodies. - Dale Petranech

The core of Chris’s marathon swimming career is distinguished by his leadership and his strategic ability where he guided Australia as a marathon swimming nation to dominate the world of open water competition for the whole period of his involvement.

Chris was commissioned with setting the national competition strategy for the Australian teams. He orchestrated & designed an annual series of national events where he was the event organizer. Internationally he arranged & led Australia to hand-picked international events and competitions resulting in the best and most advantageous preparation of the swimmers and coaches for the major world championships.

He held the dual roles as the Australian Open Water Swimming Teams Manager/Strategist & National Open Water Swimming Committee Secretary. This was the Australian golden period from 1988 to 1998 which saw unrivalled success for the Australian national teams. In a multitude of leadership and performance roles Guesdon demonstrated his mastery most particularly in that decade when leading marathon swimming for Australia.

As a member of the FINA Open Water Technical Committee, Chris with a small committed group of three, was the architect of a model which with Sid Cassidy & Dennis Miller together developed the strategy to have a marathon swimming event included into the Olympic Games swimming.

This design and recommendation was to the content of the Olympic Marathon Swimming Event. He brilliantly anticipated the International Olympic Committees (IOC) concerns. The recommendation was a shorter distance (10 Kilometres) for better fitting into the Olympic Schedule with the course to be able to accommodate the Olympic Rowing course or similar body of water in order for it to be accepted by the IOC and to be able to be contested in landlocked countries without suitable ocean river or lake. A way had to be found. This innovative model was the only way the event could be suited to the IOC and every Olympics. The FINA Bureau and the IOC concurred with his suggestions resulting in the 10 Kilometre Marathon Swimming events being added to the Olympic Games swimming programme from 2008 ending the 104-year absence from the Olympic Games. This decision changed Open Water/Marathon Swimming competition forever. - Dale Petranech

Chris is passionate about marathon swimming development around the world, particularly in those nations where the marathon is evolving. His recent interest has been with the sport in the Asia Pacific, particularly recently Indonesia. Chris has participated around the globe in an advisory role with clinics and the development of organisations & swimmers of nations such as Africa (Kenya), Argentina, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Oceania (Fiji and Cook Islands)

Chris’s first open water event was way back in 1961 and from then he was in love with the sport, swimming 20 marathons around the world. Prior to that he had competed as a long-distance pool swimmer, water polo player and had a career as an Australian Surf Lifesaver as a competitor and later Surf Lifesaving Club President.

He was awarded the Australian Sports Medal in 2000 for marathon swimming, the recipient of the ISHOF Irving Davids/Captain Roger Wheeler Memorial Award and The Dale Petranech Award for Services to the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame, was an IMSHOF Honouree in 2009,and was the recipient of the ISHOF Poseidon Award in 2018.

Chris has dedicated a lifetime to all these roles in swimming while leading a parallel life of pursuing his professional career as a national award-winning marketing executive and best known as the business owner of his nationally accredited advertising agency.

Chris’s knows that any of his achievements have been strengthened by his wife Sue’s similar passion for and applied expertise in the sport of marathon swimming throughout the whole length of this enduring career.

Some of the highlights of his involvement with sporting and service organisations include awards from and membership of Swimming Australia and the Australian Marketing Institute. As a major contributor with projects/campaigns in the Australian Olympic Council, the Commonwealth Games Association & as Executive for the first Australian Masters Games.

For the Record:

  • Mastermind behind the vision of the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim inclusion
  • Open Water Swimming Referee, 1992-2008
  • Manager of the Australian Open Water Swimming Team, 1991-1996
  • Member of the FINA Open Water Swimming Technical Committee, 1996 - 2000
  • Secretary of the Australian Open Water Swimming Committee, 1988-2001
  • 2000 Australian Sports Medal
  • Founder of the Australian Long Distance Swimming Federation
  • Bureau Member of the International Long Distance Swimming Federation
  • Co-Author of the comprehensive and authoritative Australian Long Distance and Marathon Swimming Manual & Fina Open Water Swimming Manual
  • Competed In 20 International Marathons; Australian Marathon Swimming Champion 1977-1981
  • Chair Of International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame, 2016-2018

Open Water Swimming Roles

  • Guesdon was a FINA-accredited Open Water Swimming Referee 1992-2008.
  • He was the manager of the Australian all conquering Open Water Swimming Team during the period 1991-1996.
  • He was 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.
  • He organized the open water events at the 1998 Brisbane Oceania Championships.
  • He organized the open water events at the 1999 Melbourne Pan Pacific Championships.
  • He organized the open water events at the 2004 Fiji South Pacific Games.
  • He organized the open water events at the 1991-2008 Tasmania Open Water Swimming Championships.
  • He organized the open water events at the 2006 Darwin Arafura Games.
  • He lectured at the Argentina International Open Water Swimming Clinic.
  • He lectured at the Fiji Technical Officials Clinic.
  • He lectured at the Mombasa, Kenya Technical Officials Clinic.
  • He 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 Memphremagog (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), 94 km Relay from Malta to Sicily, and Lac La Tuque, a 24-hour race in Canada.
  • He is a member of the ISHOF Open Water Nomination Screening Committee.

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.


PNG Marathon 1971
Chris Guesdon with the Australian team he took to the USA for the 1995 Pan Pacs championships in Atlanta
Chris Guesdon before the Silver Island Repulse Bay Return in Hong Kong, 19@@7@

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 1964. President from 1964 until merger under the umbrella of Swimming Australia
  • Bureau member International Long Distance Swimming Federation – Founded in Paris1954- from 1964 till FINA umbrella took control in 1986
  • Marathon Swimming event organiser and promoter in Tasmania and throughout all states of Australia 1964- 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 14 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 1996 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 1966 – participant and also as meet director
  • International Marathon Kingston to Constitution Dock race – Meet director, organiser, referee.
  • Australian Long Distance Swimming Championships held 1964-1988 – 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 1964
  • 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 40km.- 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.
  • 1977 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

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 2006 onwards
  • Life member appointed 1964
  • 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 1998-2014

Organisers of the SEA Games 2011
Chris Guesdon running a Swimming Clinic, Fiji, 2006
Chris Guesdon finishing the Hobart to Kingston, 1981


  • 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 1996 International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Inductee 2009
  • English Channel Swimming Association - International representative 2006
  • 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
  • 1996 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
  • 2004 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
  • 2006 Australia- Melbourne 2006 FINA World Championship – Assistant Referee Open Water
  • 2006 Darwin - Arafura Games - Event Technical Director Organiser and Referee for Open Water- all sessions
  • 2006 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
  • 2014 Indonesia, Lake Toba Festival - World Super Swim - Technical Delegate


  • 1988-2001 - Secretary Australian Open Water Swimming Technical Committee

Australian Championships

  • 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

Tasmanian Championships

  • 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
  • 2006 - Swimming Tasmania OWS Clinic;


  • Tasmania Regional OWS events: 2004, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011


  • Strategy
  • Swimming Tasmania OWS Clinics; providing OWS education to administrators & officials.


Chris Guesdon served as the Safety Delegate for the Lake Toba Festival - World Super Swim in Indonesia.

Australian Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame

The inaugural class of Australian Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame (AMSHOF) honourees inducted on August 2020 included:

WOWSA Awards

The Australian Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame was nominated for the 2020 WOWSA Awards in the World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year category with the following nomination: Australia's relationship with freestyle dates to the 19th century. Since the front crawl was first popularized Down Under, many of the greatest and most influential marathon swimmers in history have been trained in Australia and then ventured internationally to establish their legacies around the world. Chris Guesdon and the Panel of Five worked diligently to establish the Australian Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame this year. The Hall of Fame dedicated exclusively to marathon swimmers and contributors released 37 names in August and a further 24 names in December in its inaugural Class of 2020/2021, an effort that collectively required thousands of hours of research and discussion by its nomination selection committees. For calling attention to the greatest Australian swimmers of all time, for promoting the accomplishments and achievements of Australian swimmers, coaches, organizations and handlers who through their career achievements have made a significant contribution to marathon swimming and for researching the history of the sport dating back generations, the Australian Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame is a worthy nominee for the 2020 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.

External links