World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation

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Open water swimming at the world championships
2009 World 10 km championship silver medalist Andrew Gemmell swimming in the Atlantic Ocean
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noun - The World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation (WPMSF) is an organisation to promote, educate, and further the interests of the sport of open water swimming. It was founded in 1961 with Herman Willemse as its President and Joe Grossman as its Secretary-Treasurer.

It currently devises and publishes information on open water swims and marathon swimming competitions focusing on the safety and integrity of the events and for the protection and promotion of open water swimmers.

Contents

History

The WPMSF was a non-profit corporation that used to govern the professional marathon swimming circuit in the 1960's, 1970's and 1980's. The original corporation no longer exists, but the same concept is now managed by the World Open Water Swimming Association.

The WPMSF was headquartered at 10102 Pierce Drive, Silver Spring, Maryland 20901, USA when Herman Willemse, an Honour Swimmer in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame, was its President and Joe Grossman was its Secretary-Treasurer who later adopted its constitution in 1967. It was disbanded when it was succeeded by the International Marathon Swimming Association in the late 1980's.

The original constitution of the World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation was formally adopted at its 1967 annual meeting of the Federation at Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, on 31 July 1967, and amended thereafter. It superseded and made null and void all previous adopted Constitutions and amendments to former Constitutions. Its Constitution was further modified after two decades of non-use by the World Open Water Swimming Association (WOWSA) to be inclusive of amateur swimmers, channel swimmers, marathon swimmers and professional marathon swimmers of all ages, abilities and backgrounds.

Current Constitution

Article I (Name)

The World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation is an organization headquartered in Huntington Beach, California, U.S.A. that is managed by the World Open Water Swimming Association starting on 1 January 2013.

Article II (Purposes)

The aims and purposes of this Federation shall be to:
(1) further the interests of the sport of marathon swimming through international publicity,
(2) serve as a central collection and dissemination agency for records of all marathon swims and of all swimmers regardless of their national origin or Federation affiliation and of all courses over which races or individual attempts are held,
(3) be a forum in which matters relating to improvement of the sport, including all aspects of safety, of open water swimming can be discussed and suggestions offered to organizers of open water swims wherever held throughout the world,
(4) serve as a central collection point of all the opinions, desires, and recommendations by professional marathon swimmers,
(5) devise, publish and promote guidelines for the conduct of open water swims and marathon swimming competitions focusing on the safety and integrity of the races and for the protection of swimmers of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds.

Article III (Membership)

Membership in the WPMSF shall be in two categories:
(1) Voting Members, and
(2) Non-voting Members.

Eligibility for voting membership

Eligibility for voting membership shall be offered to the following individuals:
(1) all current professional marathon swimmers on either the FINA 10K Marathon Swimming World Cup circuit or the FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix circuit.
(2) any coach, trainer, parent or spouse of all current professional marathon swimmers on either the FINA 10K Marathon Swimming World Cup circuit or the FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix circuit.
(3) any former professional marathon swimmer who previously competed on the FINA 10K Marathon Swimming World Cup circuit, the FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix circuit, or other races on the previous World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation circuit or International Marathon Swimming Association circuit.
(4) any athlete who has competed for and received cash money or prizes in an open water swimming or triathlon competition anywhere in the world.
(5) any coach, trainer, parent or spouse of these athletes (listed in Provision (4) above).
(6) any former or current officials, volunteers, escort crew members, kayakers, paddlers, rowers, pilots, and organisational staff who help host or organise any channel swim, marathon swim, or open water swim including all races on the FINA 10K Marathon Swimming World Cup, FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix, World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation, or International Marathon Swimming Association circuits.
(7) interested individuals who pay the annual fees or dues for voting membership.

Eligibility for non-voting membership shall be open to any swimmer, coach, trainer, kayaker, paddler, rower, pilot, crew member, organisational staff, or interested individual who shall pay the reduced fees for this membership level.

Members in both voting and non-voting categories may resign at any time. Voting and non-voting members may be asked to leave the WPMSF either for failure to pay dues as outlined in Article V.

Article IV (Finances)

The WPMSF shall be supported by fees and dues paid by Voting and Non-Voting members and by whatever financial support the Federation may receive to support its promotional, educational, and lobbying activities. Funds of the Federation may be used only for conducting the administrative business of the Federation, and the Secretary-Treasurer shall give a full accounting of each year's finances at the annual meeting. No salaries or travel expenses for officers or members may be paid or reimbursed by the Federation treasury.

Article V (Fees and Dues)

Fees and Dues for membership in the Federation shall be:

Voting Members:
US$5.00 per year to all current professional marathon swimmers on either the FINA 10K Marathon Swimming World Cup circuit or the FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix circuit.
US$10.00 per year for any coach, trainer, parent or spouse of all current professional marathon swimmers on either the FINA 10K Marathon Swimming World Cup circuit or the FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix circuit.
US$25.00 per year for any former professional marathon swimmer who previously competed on the FINA 10K Marathon Swimming World Cup circuit, the FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix circuit, or other races on the previous World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation circuit or International Marathon Swimming Association circuit.
US$25.00 per year for any athlete who has competed for and received cash money or prizes in an open water swimming or triathlon competition anywhere in the world.
US$25.00 per year for any coach, trainer, parent or spouse of these athletes (listed in Provision (4) above).
US$10.00 per year for any former or current officials, volunteers, escort crew members, kayakers, paddlers, rowers, pilots, and organisational staff who help host or organise any channel swim, marathon swim, or open water swim including all races on the FINA 10K Marathon Swimming World Cup, FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix, World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation, or International Marathon Swimming Association circuits.
US$25.00 per year for interested individuals who pay the annual fees or dues for voting membership.

Non-voting Members: US$5.00 per year.

Fees will be paid for each calendar year (1 January to 31 December).

Registration

Registration shall be posted at World Open Water Swimming Association or World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation.

Article VI (Benefits)

Voting Members shall receive the following:
(1) World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation voting membership card
(2) Weekly Open Water Swimming Magazine - digital edition
(3) Product discounts for all FINIS products
(4) US$5.00 discount off World Open Water Swimming Association membership
(5) Customizable website template for personal use
(6) Personal Openwaterpedia entry
(7) Annual WPMSF Report
(8) Voting privileges

Non-voting Members shall receive the following:
(1) World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation non-voting membership card
(2) Product discounts for all FINIS products
(3) US$5.00 discount off World Open Water Swimming Association membership
(4 Annual WPMSF Report

Article VII (Officers)

The Federation officers shall be a President, one or more Vice Presidents, a Secretary-Treasurer, and no less than three Directors (Trustees). The President and Vice Presents shall be active or retired professional marathon swimmers. The Secretary-Treasurer need not be an active or retired professional marathon swimmer. At least two of the three Directors shall be active or retired professional marathon swimmers. There may be more than three Directors as the membership desires.

The President, Vice-President, Secretary-Treasurer and all Directors shall be entitled to one vote on any question before the Federation.

The President may be re-elected for one one-year term following his initial term, but may not serve as President more than two consecutive terms. The terms of all officers shall be one year, from January 1 following the election to December 31 of the year he takes office, subject to re-election. There are no restrictions as to the number of consecutive one year terms the Vice-President, Secretary-Treasurer or Directors may serve.

Article VIII (Meetings)

The Federation shall hold at least one official meeting each year at a time and place decided upon at least one month in advance, usually at the Global Open Water Swimming Conference. Other meetings may be held whenever and wherever convenient or necessary at the call of the President or Secretary-Treasurer. Roberts Rule of Order shall determine the conduct of all Federation meetings.

Article IX (Voting)

All Voting Members, plus those officers designated in Article VII, shall be entitled to one vote on every question before the Federation. Voting may be done in person by members attending meetings or by proxy vote sent by email after Secretary-Treasurer has notified all the members by email of the subject to be voted upon. A simple majority of members voting shall determine all matters before the Federation with the exception of Amendments to the Constitution, which shall require a two-thirds vote of those members voting.

Article X (Cooperation)

Cordial relationships shall be maintained by this Federation with all other open water swimming and marathon swimming federations, associations, clubs, groups, FINA (Fédération Internationale de Natation Amateur), or organizing bodies of open water swims, wherever they exist in order to keep this Federation informed on every development, dates of every marathon swimming race, and of results all swimming races and private attempts by amateur and professional swimmers; and may publicize such news concerning marathon swimming as may be deemed beneficial to the sport.

The Federation shall give its full cooperation to member and non-member swimmers and race organizers in matters of publicity when requested to do so.

Article XI (Assistance)

The Federation shall endeavor to keep its membership informed of all major professional open water swims around the world and and shall seek to promote the sport to their benefit and safety.

Article XII (Championships)

Each year the Federation shall recognize the overall male and female winners of the FINA 10K Marathon Swimming World Cup and FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix circuits as the male and female World Champion Profession Marathon Swimmers for that year who shall be automatically nominated for the World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year and World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year for that year. The Federation may also conduct a separate international championship event subject to sponsorship.

Article XIII (Sanction)

The Federation reserves the option of awarding or withholding its sanction (approval) of any race held anywhere in the world, Sanction will be awarded to races which meet the standards of safety and integrity set forth by the World Open Water Swimming Association Guidelines. It shall withhold sanction from any race which does not meet those standards or which attempts to exploit swimmers. Investigations of all complaints against swims charged with ignoring or violating these Guidelines shall be made by a committee of Voting Members named by an Executive Committee.

Article XIV (Participation)

Federation members may participate in races which have been denied the sanction not considered international championship events and that no championship points will be awarded to finishers. More stringent measures may be taken in the cases of individual races denied Federation sanction upon the concurrence of two-thirds of the membership voting on a specific race.

Article XV (Guidelines)

Guidelines (standards) which this Federation will expect all races to adhere to regarding safety (security), integrity (honesty), and proper treatment of all swimmers shall be appended to this Constitution and considered an operative part of this Constitution under the designation of Article XV-A. All guidelines must be approved by two-thirds of members voting when they are presented, and guidelines may be revised or deleted at the pleasure of the Voting Members expressed in oral or written balloting either at a formal meeting or by email vote.

Articles 1-3

1. Safety - Safety measures for swimmers shall include the presence of at least (1) medical boat during races held on open water, and a first-aid or medical tent or enclave on shore in races of any kind: provision of a small rowboat or motorboat to accompany each swimmer while he or she is in the water; where possible a power boat to accompany each swimmer while he or she is swimming in races in open water; and adherence to the World Open Water Swimming Association safety guidelines.

2. Integrity - Swim organizers and Federation observers will take every precaution to ensure against cheating by swimmers, coaches, trainers, navigators, oarsmen and race officials.

3. Treatment of swimmers - Federation officials will be alert for incidents deemed to be exploitation of swimmers by race organizers.

Original Constitution of the WPMSF

The original constitution of the World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation was formally adopted at the 1967 annual meeting of the Federation at Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, on 31 July 1967, and amended thereafter. It superseded and made null and void all previous adopted Constitutions and amendments to former Constitutions.

Its Constitution was further modified by the World Open Water Swimming Association (WOWSA) to be inclusive of amateur swimmers, channel swimmers, and marathon swimmers of all ages, abilities and backgrounds.

Officers

Herman Willemse, President, and Joe Grossman, Secretary-Treasurer were the officers of the original organisation.

Article I (Name)

The World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation is a non-profit corporation in Roberval, Quebec, Canada, on 4 August 1963 and was subsequently abandoned.

Article II (Purposes)

The aims and purposes of this Federation shall be to: (1) further the interests of the sport of marathon swimming through international publicity, (2) serve as a central collection and dissemination agency for records of all marathon swims and of all swimmers regardless of their national origin or Federation affiliation and of all courses over which races or individual attempts are held, (3) be a forum in which matters relating to improvement of the sport can be discussed and suggestions offered to organizers of swims wherever held throughout the world, and (4)devise and publish guidelines for the conduct of marathon swimming races as to safety and integrity of the races and for the protection of swimmers, members and non-members, against exploitation by promoters and organizers.

Article III (Membership)

Membership in the Federation shall be in two categories: (1) Voting Members and (2) Non-voting Members. Eligible for Voting membership shall be any professional marathon swimmer who has paid such fees or dues as determined by the membership. Eligible for Non-Voting membership shall be any trainer, coach, navigator, rower, or interested individual who shall pay such fees or dues as determined by the membership. Members in both categories may resign at any time. Voting Members may be expelled from the Federation either for failure to pay dues as outlined in Article V or for participating in a swimming event which has been refused the sanction of the Federation as outlined in Article XIV.

Article IV (Finances)

The Federation shall be supported by fees and dues paid by Voting and Non-Voting members and by whatever monetary gifts the Federation may receive to support its activities. Funds of the Federation may be used only for conducting the administrative business of the Federation, and the Secretary-Treasurer shall give a full accounting of each year's finances at the annual meeting. No salaries or travel expenses for officers or members may be paid or reimbursed by the Federation treasury.

Article V (Fees and Dues)

Fees and Dues for membership in the Federation shall be: for Voting Members, $5 (US) initiation fee, to be paid once, upon election to membership, and $5 (US) dues per year. For Non-voting Members, $10 (US) initiation fee to be paid once upon election to membership, and $10 (US) dues per year. Dues will be paid for each calendar year and members whose dues have not been paid by March 1 following the year for which they are intended shall be dropped from membership and must pay a new initiation fee to be reinstated. Swimmer members on the rolls prior to August 1, 1967, shall not be required to pay an initiation fee.

Article VI (Purses)

No percentages of purses will be assessed or collected from swimmer members.

Article VII (Officers)

The Federation officers shall be a President, one or more Vice Presidents, a Secretary-Treasurer, and no less than three Directors (Trustees). The President and Vice Presents shall be active or retired professional marathon swimmers. The Secretary-Treasurer need not be an active or retired professional marathon swimmer. At least two of the three Directors shall be active or retired professional marathon swimmers. There may be more than three Directors, but the total number must be divisible by three and the ratio of two active or retired swimmers to one non-swimmer must be maintained among the Directors.

The President, Vice-President, Secretary-Treasurer and all Directors shall be entitled to one vote on any question before the Federation.

The President may be re-elected for two terms following his initial term, but may not serve as President more than three consecutive terms. The terms of all officers shall be one year, from January 1 following his election to December 31 of the year he takes office, subject to re-election. There are no restrictions as to the number of consecutive one year terms the Vice-President, Secretary-Treasurer or Directors may serve.

Article VIII (Meetings)

The Federation shall hold at least one official meeting each year at a time and place decided upon at least one month in advance. Other meetings may be held whenever and wherever convenient or necessary at the call of the President or Secretary-Treasurer. Roberts Rule of Order shall determine the conduct of all Federation meetings.

Article IX (Voting)

All Voting Members, plus those officers designated in Article VII, shall be entitled to one vote on every question before the Federation. Voting may be done in person by members attending meetings or by proxy vote after Secretary-Treasurer has notified all the members by mail of the subject to be voted upon and requested a mail ballot. A simple majority of members voting shall determine all matters before the Federation with the exception of Amendments to the Constitution, which shall require a two-thirds vote of those members voting.

Article X (Cooperation)

Cordial relationships shall be maintained by this Federation with all other marathon swimming federations, clubs, groups, or organizing bodies of swims, wherever they exist in order to keep this Federation informed on every development, dates of every marathon swimming race, and of results all swimming races and private attempts by amateur and professional swimmers; and may publicize such news concerning marathon swimming as may be deemed beneficial to the sport.

The Federation shall give its full cooperation to member and non-member swimmers and race organizers in matters of publicity when requested to do so.

Article XI (Swim Entries)

The Federation shall not invite any swimmer, trainer, coach, navigator or rower to participate in any swimming race, nor will the Federation mail entry forms for any races to individuals. However, the Federation will, upon request, provide addresses to which individuals may apply for entry forms from organizing bodies of races. The Federation will not seek to influence the organizing bodies of any races in the matter of extending invitations or entry forms, but will make recommendations to such organizing bodies if requested to do so by them.

Article XII (Championships)

Each year the Federation shall conduct a competition to determine the male and female World Champion Profession Marathon Swimmer for that year. The competition shall extend throughout the calendar year and shall include all recognized professional marathon races in its considerations. However, the Federation may designate races as unrecognized (unsanctioned) which do not conform to conditions outlined in the Guidelines (standards) adopted by this Federation and appended to this Constitution.

Points shall be awarded to finishers of the recognized races according to a formula which will take into consideration the finish placement, distances covered and time spent swimming by each finisher. Men and women swimmers will be scored separately on the same point basis. Following completion of the final recognized race each year, an announcement of the names of the male and female champions for that year will be made and publicized by the Federation. An open discussion of the point scoring formula for this competition will be invited by the President at each annual meeting, and any changes adopted will be put in force int he succeeding year's championship competition.

Article XIII (Sanction)

The Federation reserves the option of awarding or withholding its sanction (approval) of any race held anywhere in the world, Sanction will be awarded to races which meet the standards of safety and integrity set forth by the Federation Guidelines. It shall withhold sanction from any race which does not meet those standards or which attempts to exploit swimmers. Investigations of all complaints against swims charged with ignoring or violating these Guidelines shall be made by a committee of Voting Members named by the President. In instances where Federation sanction is withheld, all members shall be.

Article XIV (Participation)

Federation members may participate in races which have been denied the sanction not considered international championship events and that no championship points will be awarded to finishers. More stringent measures may be taken in the cases of individual races denied Federation sanction upon the concurrence of two-thirds of the membership voting on a specific race.

Article XV (Guidelines)

Guidelines (standards) which this Federation will expect all races to adhere to regarding safety (security), integrity (honesty), and treatment of swimmers shall be appended to this Constitution and considered an operative part of this Constitution under the designation of Article XV-A. All guidelines must be approved by two-thirds of members voting when they are presented, and guidelines may be revised or deleted at the pleasure of the Voting Members expressed in oral or written balloting either at a formal meeting or by mail vote.

Article XV-A

No professional marathon swimming race shall be considered an international championship event unless its prizes in total $5000 (US) and its first prize is $1000 (US). Sanction shall not be granted any race which does not meet this standard. Sanction awarded any race which later reduces its prizes below this standard shall have its sanction withdrawn forthwith.

1. Security - Security (safety) measures for swimmers shall include the presence of at least (1) medical boat during races held on open water, and a first-aid or medical tent or enclave on shore in races of any kind: provision of a small rowboat or motorboat to accompany each swimmer while he or she is in the water; and where possible a power boat to accompany each swimmer while he or she is swimming in races in open water.

Races of less than 12 hours' expected duration shall start and finish in daylight.

Where night-time swimming is required, each swimmer shall be provided by the organizing committee of the race with a light for his or her bathing cap, and each accompanying rowboat or motorboat shall be sufficiently lighted so swimmers may read the swimmer's numbers on boats during darkness hours.

At least 4 hours before the start of a race, swimmers who request it shall be taken on a tour of the complete course of the race. Where practical maps of the course shall be provided each swimmer.

Every possible attempt shall be made to provide at least one member of each swimmer's rowboat or motorboat crew who speaks and writes one of the languages in which the swimmer he accompanies is fluent. If the swim organizers are unable to locate such a person, the swimmer will have the option of selecting such a person to accompany him in his rowboat or motorboat.

In the case of inclement or unusual weather or water conditions deemed by competent observers as creating hazards to the swimmers, race organizers will delay or postponed the start of the race until those conditions have abated and the hazards are deemed ended.

2. Integrity - Swim organizers and Federation observers will take every precaution to ensure against cheating by swimmers, coaches, trainers, navigators, oarsmen and race officials.

The use of flotation equipment or clothing of any kind will not be permitted.

Towing by any means will not be permitted.

Use of artificial stimulants other than those necessary for inducing and maintaining wakefulness will not be permitted.

Swimming through "short cuts" not designated as part of the official race course will not be permitted.

Physically interrupting the swimming rhythm of one swimmer by another beyond whatever touching is inadvertently done in the course of an evenly-contested race, will not be permitted.

"Mudding" or using the feet to propel a swimmer in shallow water will not be permitted.

Touching by a swimmer of his accompanying boat or any of his boat crew immediately and automatically disqualifies that swimmer from the race in progress, for whatever reason such touching is done.

Swimmers who indicate by whatever means are outlined by a race committee that he or she is leaving the water and has touched his accompanying boat or handlers may not return to the water after he or she has touched.

No pre-race agreement on the order of finish by swimmers, handlers or race officials will be tolerated.

Officials of the Federation will be constantly alert during a race to guard against the above-listed violations. Officials of the organizing body of each race shall likewise take whatever steps are necessary to guard against the above-listed violations.

Complaints made by swimmers during the course of a race or after its completion as to violations of the above-mentioned prohibitions will be investigated by Federation officials, who will request the assistance of race officials, either in person or by mail, to determine the validity of the complaint. Disqualification will result for any swimmer found guilty of any of the above-listed violations.

If a disqualification is deemed in order by Federation officials after investigation of a complaint, the Federation will consider that disqualification valid even if the race committee will not agree to abide by the Federation Investigation Decision. In such case, the order of finish considered official by the Federation will not include the swimmer disqualified and will consider the swim committee's refusal to abide by the Federation decision as cause for considering withholding Federation sanction from that race the following year and will vote on withholding the sanction for that reason.

3. Treatment of swimmers - Federation officials will be alert for incidents deemed to be exploitation of swimmers by race organizers. Withholding Federation sanction from a race will result from a finding that the swim's organizers have, indeed, exploited a swimmer or swimmers.

Room and board shall be provided for each swimmer and one other person (coach, trainer, navigator, or oarsman) designated by the swimmer for a period of at least five days prior to a race and at least one day after its completion.

No swimmer will be asked by race organizers to participate in parades or spectacles which might tax the strength of swimmers after a point 24 hours before the start of a race. No swimmer will be asked y race organizers to submit interviews or picture-taking for publicity purposes (other than spot photographs or starting line interviews which are considered as news coverage of the race) after a point 12 hours before the start of a race.

Federation members will participate without remuneration in press conferences or such other promotional activities designed to promote public interest in a race where race organizing committees provide lodging and meals to entrants. In all other cases, Federation members will not participate in such press conference or other promotional activities unless they are paid a fee set by the Federation.

Thorough medical examinations by competent physicians will be provided all entrants at least 12 hours prior to a race, and any swimmer who does not meet normal health standards will not be permitted to swim in that race.

The organizers of a swim shall not arbitrarily with hold percentages of purses as a penalty to a swimmer for participating in any other race or races, nor shall any organizer attempt to persuade organizers of any other swim or swims to withhold purses for that reason. Any race whose officials do so will suffer withholding of the Federations's sanction as soon as the facts are reported, investigated and proven.

In cases of ties, the prizes for the two positions involved shall be added together and/each swimmer shall receive 50 percent of the total thus derived.

Copies of these guidelines will be provided to organizers of each swim the federation has knowledge of, well in advance of the date on which its race is to be held.

If these guidelines are not accepted or complied with by the organizers of a race, that race will be refused the sanction of the Federation and its results will not be included in the Federation's official records or in the Federation's computations for selection of the male and female World Professional Marathon Swimmers for that year and until the situation is rectified.

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