From Openwaterpediaopen water swimming movement and a member of the FINA Technical Open Water Swimming Committee (TOWSC) and a member of the board of directors of the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame. A former professional marathon swimmer, record-breaking channel swimmer, a national team coach, USA Swimming and FINA administrator, Olympic official, race announcer, race director and strong advocate of the sport, Cassidy has done everything there is to do in the sport.
Cassidy's dedication to the sport has been recognized by his peers and the international swimming community. He won the highest honor at USA Swimming, the prestigious USA Swimming Award which is given annually to the individual or organization with the most outstanding contribution to the sport of swimming. He also received the Paragon Award for Competitive Swimming at the 50th annual International Swimming Hall of Fame Awards ceremony on 13 June 2014.
Cassidy was the Coach and Technical Expert of the USA Swimming Open Water Swimming Safety Task Force and remains one of the English Channel relay record-holders along with Jay Wilkerson, Chad Hundeby, Martha Jahn, Karen Burton, and Dirk Bouma. The USA Swimming national open water team members set three English Channel relay records: 6 hours 52 minutes on their first leg (England-to-France), 7 hours 26 minutes on their second leg (France-to-England), and the fastest overall and fastest 2-way relay (England-to-France-to-England) in 14 hours 18 minutes in 1990. The team was coached by Penny Dean and John York.
Legacy in the Sport
Cassidy is truly one of the unsung heroes of the sport of open water swimming. In his acceptance speech at the United States Aquatic Convention, Cassidy acknowledged his family and mentor, "I am simply awed to receive this [USA Swimming] award. There are so many deserving great volunteers in our organization and to think that the Committee selected me is overwhelming. It is truly something I accept on behalf of so many of you who have given your efforts to help promote open water swimming worldwide. In particular i have to thank my family first - Kara, Quinn and Kate and my Mom and Dad for all of their love and support. I also want to be sure and note my mentor and friend as the man who taught us to swim straight in the old quarry hole - Bob Mattson. He truly has been an inspiration in my life."
Cassidy has worked tirelessly in nearly every continent over four decades as an athlete, coach, race director, promoter, administrator, referee, lecturer and the FINA Technical Open Water Swimming Committee chairman. He has balanced a long-term vision and pragmatism in organizing and running the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim, the FINA 10K Marathon Swimming World Cup and the FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix circuit during his role with FINA.
Selfless dedication. Unflagging perseverance. Creative vision. Enthusiastic leadership. Entertaining speaker. These are just a few of the words that capture the essence and character of Sid.
Cassidy’s early passion for open water swimming developed under developed under coach Bob Mattson in the early 1970’s in Lansdale, Pennsylvania.
He later went on to an All-American collegiate career at North Carolina State University and continued his proximity to the open water as a lifeguard with the Ocean City (New Jersey) Beach Patrol where he was introduced to professional marathon swimming.
Cassidy was the #4-ranked pro marathon swimmer in 1979 when he swam marathons in Chicago, Atlantic City, Canada and Egypt. It was during this period when he also started his coaching career. Similar to Bill Russell with the Boston Celtics, who was the player-coach of the NBA champions, Sid pulled off unprecedented double duties in the English Channel in 1990.
While coaching the USA Swimming National Open Water Team, he also swam on the six-member team that set three records for the fastest English-to-France crossing, the fastest France-to-England crossing, and the fastest double crossing that all still hold today.
Cassidy later became the USA Swimming National Open Water Swimming Team head coach for five years from 1991-1996. During this period, he coached Jay Wilkerson and Samantha Chabotar to national championships from his own club while he also escorted American medalists at various FINA World Open Water Swimming Championships and World Cup events. He subsequently served as the race director for six international marathon swimming events from 1999 to 2004, and promoted the 10K distance back in an early 10K World Cup event in 2002. 'The 10K for the USA' was a precursor of how the 10K races can host a large number of elite swimmers and provide thrilling races for spectators to enjoy up close.
Cassidy was the race starter at the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim in Beijing, but perhaps his greatest legacy will result from his globe-traveling responsibilities on behalf of the FINA Technical Open Water Swimming Committee where he has served since 1996. Together with members Dennis Miller of Fiji and Chris Guesdon of Australia, Cassidy promoted the 10K model that was successfully used at the 2008 World Open Water Swimming Championships in Sevilla, Spain and later in Beijing and London in 2012. Cassidy continues his role in reviewing and promoting the sport and its rules and regulations and being a strong voice and leader for open water swimming in America. As the sport grows, his leadership in educating referees and officials on how to correctly and consistently interpret the rules during competition will be especially important and appreciated.
International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Induction
Cassidy was inducted as an Honour Administrator in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame in 2005. As a swimmer, Cassidy was ranked fourth as a professional marathon swimmer in 1979. He swam several 36km (22.5-mile) Around the Island Marathon Swims in Atlantic City, USA and competed in professional marathon races in Chicago, Canada and Egypt. He both coached and swam on a record-setting double-crossing of the English Channel by the USA Swimming National Team in 1990.
Glen S. Hummer Award
Cassidy was the 1996 recipient of the Glen S. Hummer Award, an award given to the individual who makes the greatest contribution to the open water swimming in the United States.
Sid Cassidy on Open Water Wednesdaywas the Medical Consultant of the USA Swimming Open Water Swimming Safety Task Force.
USA Swimming Open Water Swimming Safety Task Force
USA Swimming Open Water Swimming Safety Task Force was a five-person investigative Open Water Review Commission to review the findings of the independent investigation into the tragic death of Fran Crippen on 23 October 2010 at a FINA 10km Marathon Swimming World Cup in the United Arab Emirates and to submit safety protocol recommendations.
The Task Force had three functions: (1) to review the findings of the independent USA Swimming investigation, (2) to solicit and consider other pertinent information from appropriate individuals and organizations, and (3) develop recommendations for the improvement of safety protocols, procedures and precautions arising from the death of Crippen. These recommendations were presented to USA Swimming and FINA in March 2011.
The recommendations were ultimately accepted by the FINA Bureau on 27 July 2012 as concrete means to improve safety in its open water swimming competitions.
FINA TOWSC Members
The 2013-2017 FINA TOWSC members include:
FINA Bureau Liaison is Dennis Miller of Fiji
Its 2009-2013 members include:
1. Ronnie Wong Man Chiu, Chairman
2. Jorge Aurelio Delgado Panchana, Vice Chairman
3. Flavio Bomio, Honorary Secretary
4. Sid Cassidy, Member [replacement for Steven Munatones of USA]
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
- Back In The Day
- Marathon Swimming
- Sid Cassidy And Erica Rose To Help Investigate
- FINA Bureau Takes Large Steps In The Right Direction
- 2012 Olympic Marathon Swimming 10km Coverage
- International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame website
- Sid Cassidy on Open Water Wednesday
- Sid Cassidy Wins USA Swimming's Highest Honor
- Open Water Swimming website
- Sid Cassidy speaking at the United Nations on the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim
- Sid Cassidy on Cruise Control
- Sid Cassidy Investigating the Future
- How Did Marathon Swimming Get Into The Olympics?
- People Who Changed The World Of Open Water Swimming
- Encouraging The Next Generation Of Open Water Swimmers
- First International Swimming Camp In Boca Raton
- New FINA Technical Open Water Swimming Committee Announced
- FINA Official Website
- Open Water Swimming
- FINA Open Water Swimming Officials Schools In 2013
- Marathon Swimming
- World Open Water Swimming Association
- Daily News of Open Water Swimming
- I Got Stung
- World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation
- Poliana Okimoto Is Number 1...Three Times Over
- Catalina Channel Swimming Back In The Day
- Experimentation In The Sport Of Open Water Swimming
- Dennis Miller Continues To Rise
- A Powerhouse - 1990 USA National Open Water Swim Team
- Sid Cassidy Is A Paragon Of Open Water Success
- The Uniqueness Of Rob Copeland
- Baby Boomers Looking To Test Time
- Pulling Bush With The Quarry Monster
- How Fast Do You Have To Be?