Dale Petranech Award for Services
noun - The Dale Petranech Award for Services to the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame is an honor presented by the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame to an individual who has dedicated their lives to the development, promotion, and administration of the sport of marathon swimming. The inaugural award was given to its namesake, Dale Petranech.
2016: Dale Petranech (USA)
2018: Herman Willemse (Netherlands)
2019: Chris Guesdon (Australia)
2020: Beth Yudovin (USA)
2021: Commander Charles Gerald Forsberg OBE, RN (Rtd.) (UK)
2022: Steven Munatones (USA)
The award is named for Dale Petranech, a dual inductee of the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame and the International Swimming Hall of Fame.
Dale Petranech Award for Services to the International Marathon Of Fame
Dale Petranech Career
In 1977, the personable New Jersey native became the first U.S. Swimming Open Water Swimming Committee Chairman and developed a successful domestic and international program. He assisted U.S. Masters Swimming to form its own independent organization. He was chairman of the FINA Open Water Swimming Commission that made recommendations to FINA for inclusion of Open Water Swimming into their organization and eventually served as Honorary Secretary of the FINA Technical Open Water Swimming Committee.
Throughout the years, he has ably and enthusiastically provided the administrative background, expertise and efforts to maintain the records, rules, policies, procedures and protocols used in the sport at the USA Swimming, local age-group and masters, and FINA levels. He has continues to serve as the Honorary Secretary & Treasurer of the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame, is a lifetime member of the Catalina Channel Swimming Federation and is the Eastern Zone Open Water Swimming Zone Representative for USA Swimming.
International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor
FOR THE RECORD: 35 YEARS ADMINISTRATOR FOR OPEN WATER SWIMMING: 1977 to Present; CHAIRMAN AAU NATIONAL LONG DISTANCE COMMITTEE: 1977-1979; CHAIRMAN UNITED STATE SWIMMING LONG DISTANCE COMMITTEE (1979-1991); CHAIRMAN OF FIRST FINA COMMISSION TO STUDY ADDING OPEN WATER SWIMMING TO OLYMPIC AND FINA PROGRAM: 1984-1992); APPOINTED TO FINA’S FIRST TECHNICAL OPEN WATER SWIMMING COMMITTEE: Honorary Secretary (1992-1996); GUIDED FORMATION OF WRITING RULES FOR INTERNATIONAL OPEN WATER SWIMMING; SERVED OVER 30 YEARS AS OPEN WATER EVENT OFFICIAL AND OFFICIAL FINA OBSERVER; HONORARY SECRETARY INTERNATIONAL MARATHON SWIMMING HALL OF FAME: 1998 to Present; CHAIRMAN NATIONAL AQUATIC COALITION: 1994-1996.
For the past 35 years Dale Petranech has been a leader in, and advocate for, open water, long distance swimming and has worked to organize open water swimming competitions in the United States and around the world. He accepts every challenge head-on and is well respected internationally for his work. He began in 1977, as a chairman for AAU National Long Distance Committee, of which only one race existed annually - the 4-mile for men and 3-mile for women, both swum around a quarter mile cable stretched in the water. As committee chair, his first priority was to increase the number of meets attended by U.S. athletes, both nationally and internationally, whereby he secured U.S. athletes to compete at Lake Windermere, the first time any swimmers officially represented the USA overseas. With the help Hall of Famer Ross Wales, Dale helped create United States Open Water Inc, when the AAU was required to relinquish its administrative control on the sport, opening the potential to access more concentrated efforts on long distance swimming’s behalf within the U.S. For a short period of time, the organization was separate from all other organizations. As Chairman of the committee, Dale was responsible for both USS and USMS open water, long distance swimming. As a member of the DC Masters Swimming Club, Dale organized and participated in the first-ever, one-hour swimming-for-distance postal meet where results are sent to a central location for tabulation. This new concept has grown to include thousands of participating swimmers today. In 1992, with Dale’s urging, FINA President Bob Helmick agreed to study adding open water swimming to the Olympic program. Dale became Chair of a newly appointed FINA Commission to study adding Open Water Swimming to the FINA and Olympic Games programs and to develop rules and procedures to help make it happen. This led to the formation of the FINA Technical Open Water Swimming Committee, Dale serving as Honorary Secretary, responsible for setting the agenda. During his terms on the Committee and FINA Commission, he helped write the accepted and standard international rules using the 25k race as a standard distance. Guidelines were taken from the rules of the British Long Distance Swimming Association, Channel Swimming Association and United States Swimming Long Distance groups. He stressed a 25k race be held at each World Championship (first one in Perth, 1990) and pushed for a FINA Marathon World Cup in Olympic years, the first one from Lausanne to Evian France on Lake Geneva in1988. In 1984, he helped to host a Catalina Channel International and a 15k Hunting Beach to Seal Beach attended by Great Britain, Czechoslovakia, Egypt and the USA. During his tenure as Honorary Secretary of the TOWSC, he served in many capacities internationally as an event official from clerk of course to assistant referee to FINA special observer. He has presided over many FINA Open Water Clinics, and has been the lead official at the USA National Open Water Championships and the 2000 FINA World Open Water Championships in Hawaii. He served on the organizing committees for the first few Around Manhattan Island swims and the FINA Around Absecon Island (Atlantic City) swims. From 1994 to 1996, Dale was the Chairman of the National Aquatic Coalition, an organization to bring together all organizations relating to aquatics, for mutual understanding. As secretary of the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame when Commander Gerry Forsberg (GBR) died in 1998, Dale assumed Gerry’s position as Honorary Secretary of IMSHOF where has admirably performed all the duties of this position including formalizing the ballot for the IMSHOF Induction. He developed and organized the first ever IMSHOF Induction Ceremony for this organization that began in 1963. In 1985 at the age of 50 he became the oldest person to swim the 21 mile Catalina Channel.
A History of Marathon Swimming Editor
Petranech was the co-editor with Steve Walker of A History of Marathon Swimming, a 536-page book written by International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Administrator Joe Grossman that was published on 19 July 2017 and covers the sport of marathon swimming and its participants including swimmers, coaches, trainers, promoters and pilots, from 1875 to 1974.
USA Long Distance International Championships
He was also the USA Swimming representative and team manager at the 1984 USA Long Distance International Championships which was the first race across the Catalina Channel since the Wrigley Ocean Marathon in 1927.
Dale Petranech Award, Dale Petranech Award for Services to the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame
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