Service to Marathon Swimming Award
The Service to Marathon Swimming Award, named for Freda Streeter, recognizes an individual or group who has contributed most meaningfully to the sport of marathon swimming in a non-swimming role.
David Barra, Rondi Davies, Alex Arévalo - New York Open Water (New York, USA)
Nominated by Anthony McCarley and expanded by Evan Morrison.
Founded New York Open Water and initiated “20 Bridges,” a new iteration of the historically important Swim Around Manhattan.
New York Open Water is a 501c3 non-profit organization “formed for the purposes of conducting and providing safety, support and funding for open water swimming and kayaking programs and events, while advocating for creating better stewardship of New York State’s natural water resources, and promoting public access to these waters.”
In its inaugural season, NYOW organized the 6th edition of the 8 Bridges Hudson River Swim, the 5th edition of the 2 Bridges Swim Under the Walkway 2.5K/5K, the inaugural Spuyten Duyvil 10K, and 22 solo Manhattan Island circumnavigations over three days.
NYOW’s first sanctioned Manhattan swims are particularly notable, given the recent uncertainty about the swim’s future, its popularity as a leg of the Triple Crown, and the significiant logistical complications in organizing such an event.
Sam Jones (UK)
My ears pricked up when the words “Crew” and “Services to Marathon Swimming” appeared on here. Having observed many EC swims, and indeed done the odd solo or relay, I have never known a more selfless, big-hearted, caring, “friend of the Swimmer(s)” than Dover’s Samantha (Sam) Jones.
As first mate / co-skipper or whatever her official title is on the good ship Suva, the one term that isn’t sufficient for Sam is “Crew”. I have watched her intervene, only when necessary and all the wheels are a-coming off a swim, to pick the swimmer - and their crew at times - up from the depths of despair and bring it all under control with her trusty pilot Neil Streeter. When kind words are needed, she has them, but when a verbal equivalent of the cat-o-nine-tails is warranted, there is none finer than her cat and its nine tails.
When not on Suva, she is an on-call member of the Dover Lifeboat. And when not doing either of these, she is a selfless source of help, wise words and advice to anyone who asks for help. Oh and she knows her stuff too, her two solos are not thrust at those seeking advice. She knows, too, the pain and the downs of EC swimming, but uses all this experience to make people’s dreams come true, mostly without them ever realising it at the time.
I am delighted to nominate Ms Sam Jones.
Roy Malinak (US) - NY-area swim support
If you’ve swam anywhere in the Hudson River in the past 4 years, dig out some photos and look in the background for a tie-dye shirt. Starting in 2012 with my involvement in swimming MIMS, someone else appeared, and they haven’t been able to get rid of him since. This is a person who has absolutely no swim aspirations, marathon or otherwise; he has no natural nautical ability. He once tried to kayak for me while I swam the width of the Hudson and flipped three times before we got out of the marina. Yet here he is, in the background of almost every photo of a swim done on the Hudson for the past 4 years.
Roy Malinak (he’s my dad) does the manual labor and heavy lifting behind the scenes. There is no task to big, and no task too menial for him. His only goal is to be helpful. He ported kayaks in and out at North Cove for last 7 MIMSs NYC Swim ran - that’s where he met @Gvanderbyl years before I ever did. He’s been lifting heavy things and herding us cats at 2 Bridges all five years it has run. He uses his vacation time to hang out on Launch 5 with @david_barra and @rondi for a full week every year, and then he’s also the first one off the boat when someone needs to drive hours back to the start to return a swimmer’s bags at the end. He’ll call me and brag: Greg let’s me touch the ropes! by which he means an ex-State Trooper who has a very commanding and particular way of running his Launch trusts Roy enough to do some of the important bits, like handle dock lines on a big steel boat. “He let me help” is his reward.
You might be saying “So what? We all do that sort of stuff.” Sure, we do, because we deal in the trade of marathon swim support give-and-take. But this is a guy for whom we’ll never get to return the favor - we’re never going to get to toss him a bottle as he swims anywhere. He’s all give, no take. The only bottle he’ll accept is one labeled Sam Adams after the boats are cleaned up, kayaks are on roof racks, and everyone else is headed home to rest up for tomorrow’s big day.
Look for that tie-dye shirt in the background of your photos. He’s there, and he’ll continue to be for as long as he can.
Roy Malinak for the Service to Marathon Swimming Award.