MSF Charter Members Present the Navigator Award
The Marathon Swimmers Federation recently hosted another rousing round of marathon swimming awards with several worthy winners getting the nod in a variety of categories, from most prolific (the Barra Award) to the most devoted to helping others succeed (the Streeter Award).
Amid the flurry of friendly nominations, an undertone of discontent emerged from the community. One person who has routinely been nominated for the Streeter Award over the past several years, Evan Morrison (@evmo), again declined his nomination. His reasons? Always that as the person who counts the votes, it would be unethical for him to be on the docket as a potential awardee, so he recuses himself and counts the votes for other winners. And on a higher level, he wants to avoid the perception that MSF is insular and self-congratulatory.
We could have left it there, but the charter membership decided this was the year we would make a slight course correction in recognizing one of our own who consistently goes above and beyond to support other swimmers.
As the co-founder of the Marathon Swimmers’ Federation, moderator of the Marathon Swimmers Forum, and president of the Santa Barbara Channel Swimming Association, Evan has long been deeply involved in marathon swimming. And not just as a swimmer; if you’ve ever watched DRIVEN, you know he’s a force to be reckoned with in the water. But he’s an even greater force in helping swimmers connect with each other and reach new heights they might not otherwise be able to achieve. He’s done all this through the establishment and ongoing maintenance of the MSF forum, which he cofounded with Donal Buckely in 2012. (Where in the past, getting good information about a swim or being able to ask other swimmers important questions directly was hard, the forum makes worldwide connections and exchange of information much easier.)
Evan also developed the marathon-swimming friendly TRACK.RS system that lets us follow along on each other’s adventures. When those swims are completed, they’re added to the database project Evan’s been curating, his recently announced LongSwimsDB, which aims to catalog all marathon swims through the ages. It’s a lofty goal, but one that only grows in scope and accuracy with Evan’s ongoing efforts.
Add to these more recent contributions his lengthy service as a coach and advisor for other swimmers, his willingness to be the face of rule-abiding marathon swimmers everywhere in the face of controversy, and in his service to other swimming organizations including the now-defunct NYCSwim and being a voting member of the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame, Evan has shown time and again that his love of this sport and its quirky community knows no bounds.
Evan has often been quoted as saying “extraordinary claims require extraordinary documentation.” Turning that concept 90 degrees, we believe that extraordinary contributions demand extraordinary recognition. To that end, the charter membership of the Marathon Swimmers Federation has voted to show our appreciation for Evan’s vast contributions to the sport with a non-annual award we’re calling the “Navigator Award.” Rather than competing with the Streeter Award, the Navigator Award honors a slightly different type or level of contribution to the sport and will only be granted in extraordinary situations such as Evan’s. (As a non-annual award, when extraordinary circumstances warrant a future edition of this commendation, the Charter Membership will be contacted for discussion.)
The 2018 Navigator Award is but a small token of our gratitude for Evan’s thousands of hours of unpaid work on the Forum as well as thanks for his development of truly useful commercial ventures like TRACK.RS. Taken all together, Evan’s contributions to the sport of marathon swimming have been nothing short of revolutionary, and we are grateful that he has applied his many and varied skills and talents to bring us into the 21st century and beyond.
Thank you, Evan, for all you’ve done and for all you have yet to achieve. We can’t wait to see which course you chart for us next.
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