Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.
If the world of open water swimming has a man behind the scenes, certainly Chris Guesdon is that man who has been selflessly and passionately devoted to the sport for over 44 years.
Chris Guesdon, the mastermind behind the vision of the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim and its inclusion in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, 2012 London Olympics and the 2016 Rio Olympics has been involved in the sport as an organizer, administrator, official, escort, lobbyist, swimmer, historian and documentor-extraordinaire.
Internationally, there are probably few individuals who have raked up as many airmiles as Chris has on behalf of the sport.
Tireless, fair, relentless and visionary, he has truly traveled the world.
Chris Guesdon was a FINA-accredited Open Water Swimming Referee between 1992-2008 and manager of the Australian Open Water Swimming Team between 1991-1996, member of the FINA Open Water Swimming Technical Committee between 1996-2000.
He is also a life member and representative of the English Channel Swimming Association. He was the referee at the 1998 Perth World Championships 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 as well as lectured at the Argentina International Open Water Swimming Clinic, the Fiji Technical Officials Clinic, the Mombassa, Kenya Technical Officials Clinic. He also officiated, managed swimmers or lectured in Dubai, Hawaii, Suva (Fiji), Cairns, Melbourne, Rarotonga (Cook Islands), Rotorua (New Zealand), Tasmania, Bali (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 & Crotone (Italy), Terracina (Italy), Evian (France), 90K Relay from Malta to Sicily and Lac La Tuque, an epic 24-hour race in Canada. Airmiles are definitely piling up based on his devotion and knowledge of the sport.
In his home country of Australia, Chris was the Secretary of Australian Open Water Swimming Technical Committee between 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.
But his legacy will be as the chief architect of - and passionate lobbyist for - the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim which he designed - along with Sid Cassidy and Dennis Miller - 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 1997 where it was accepted as the optimal blueprint for the good of the sport and ultimately adapted for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
But he also completely understood the perspective of the athletes as 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), Isle of Capri (Italy) Circumnavigation Swim, Lac La Tuque 24-hour relay, an English Channel attempt and a slew of swims throughout Tasmania: 30 km 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.
He co-authored with Bill Ford the comprehensive and authoritative Australian Long Distance and Marathon Swimming Manual and helped draft the FINA Open Water Swimming Manual.
A man of the world and a superstar of our sport.
Copyright © 2010 by World Open Water Swimming Association