Stathis Avramidis

From Openwaterpedia
Tai Collins, Dr. Stathis Avramidis, and Greg Bonann
International Aquatic History Symposium & Film Festival poster
Dr. Stathis Avramidis honored with the ISHOF Service Award 2012 by Bob Duenkel and Bruce Wigo
Dr. Stathis Avramidis, with other award winners, is presented with the "Best Young Film Director" by ISHOF's CEO Bruce Wigo
Stathis Avramidis becoming "Mr Greece 2000" at the Mr & Miss Model Millennium Beauty Contest
Dr. Stathis, IAHSFF Co-Chairman.

Stathis Avramidis, Ph.D. (Δρ Στάθης Αβραμίδης) is a prolific author and advocate of water safety. He has served and popularized aquatics and water safety since 1988 as athlete, lifeguard, trainer, instructor, amateur film director, event organizer, academic, author, researcher and media professional. He is an officer in the National Public Health Organization, a Teacher of Applied Lifeguarding and Lifesaving Sport in the School of Sports Science and Physical Education at the University of Athens and the President of the Greek Lifesaving Sports Association.

Greek Lifesaving Sports Association

On 4 February 2020, Stathis established the Greek Lifesaving Sports Association (GLSA) in Greece. The aim of this not-for-profit organization is to promote water safety and lifesaving sport. The organization has 3 membership categories; Individual, Club and prestigious Honorary Members.

The GLSA is a member of the largest international organizations (International Life Saving Federation, International Life Saving Federation of Europe, International Federation of Swimming Teachers’ Association, Mediterranean Lifesaving Confederation). It is also an ally of other organizations (Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation, Hellenic Olympic Winners Association, Hellenic Olympians Association, Hellenic Navy Seals Association, British University Lifesaving Clubs’ Association). It publishes a magazine, books, organizes lifesaving championships and strives to enhance the aspiration of lifesaving to enter the Olympic Games.

The GLSA is the powerhouse of lifesaving sport in Greece. It was founded in loving memory of 3 relatives that passed away at sea.


Stahis holds a Diploma of Education on "Adapted Physical Education" (with a mark of 10 "excellent") and a Bachelor of Science in "Sport Science and Physical Education" (graduating with the highest mark 8.39/10 among 105 graduates) from the University of Athens (Greece 1999). He also completed a Master in Sport/Exercise Science and a PhD on lifesaving and drowning respectively at Leeds Metropolitan University (England 2001; 2009), and a Master on Public Health at the National School of Public Health (Athens, Greece 2016).

Professional Activity

Stathis is an officer at the National Public Health Organization. Ηe teaches the modules of “Applied Lifeguarding” and “Lifesaving Sport” at the School of Sport Science and Physical Education at the University of Athens.

In the past, he was the Lifesaving Sport Director of the Hellenic Federation of Underwater Activity and Sport Fishing in Greece, Accident Prevention and Health Education Advisor at the Secretary General of Public Health, of the Hellenic Ministry of Health, and a Lecturer of Aquatics/Visiting Research Fellow (Leeds Metropolitan University, UK 2003-2012).

He is a qualified Senior Tutor/Instructor of internationally recognized organizations (ILS, STA, Singapore STA, RLSS Australia, RLSS UK, SLSA GB, CLSF, ASA, NUCO) with lifesaving experience and education from 13 countries. He trains physical education, lifesaving, lifeguarding, fire awareness, baby swimming, water safety, spinal injury management, defibrillation, first aid, and survival at sea. He worked as lifeguard, instructor, coach, and first aider in aquatic events (nationals, European, Mediterranean, World and Olympics).

He appeared in television and radio hundreds of times, as invited guest speaker on water safety issues, extra actor/model in television series/shows and interviews. He presented the radio program "Lifeguarding without a teacher" (91.2FM Radio, 2003) and the television program "Prevention and Rescue" (Aroma Elladas Magazino, 2013). Stathis is an Honorary Member of the International Drowning Prevention Alliance.

Research Interests

Dr Avramidis' research focuses on aspects of drowning, accident prevention, safety promotion, aquatic safety teaching, legislation, lifeguarding, lifesaving, water safety, pedagogy and near-death experiences. He focuses on multi-disciplinary approaches of drowning and accident prevention to enhance education.

Awards and Honors

Dr Avramidis has been honored with several awards and distinctions dozens times in many countries for his work. Particularly, he was the recipient of the prestigious Paragon Aquatic Safety Award and the "ISHOF Service Award" from the International Swimming Hall of Fame "for his outstanding work on water safety and lifeguarding worldwide and the mission of ISHOF". In addition, he was presented with 4 RLSS Commonwealth Diploma Awards, whose Patron is Queen Elizabeth II. At the International Aquatic History Symposium & Film Festival he was awarded with the "Most Prolific Contributor Award 2012" and "Best Young Film Director Award 2012". His Film "Ode to (Lifesaving) Joy" was honored with the "Special Diploma for Masterful Storytelling of Red Cross Events at the 17th International Red Cross and Health Film Festival (Varna, Bulgaria October 2015). In 2022, the International Lifesaving Federation presented to him the Citation of Merit.

In his youth, he participated in 4 national and international beauty contests. He became "Manhunt Greece 2000" (aka “Mr Greece” in the Mr Model Millennium Contest), "Best Model Tourism 2000" (Best Model of the World, Turkey), "First Runner-Up Mr Elegance 2001" (Mr Intercontinental, Germany), "Community Services 2000" (Manhunt International, Singapore).

Film Tributes

A documentary called "STATHI" depicts the life and work of Dr. Avramidis. The story deals about a poor young man, who had skeletal problems and could not speak English, who was collecting food from bin bags separating it from the cigarette aces and whose mother did a starvation strike out of the Ministry of Education fighting for his rights to study in Higher Education. Despite several obstacles, he became national water polo champion, an award-winning male model in beauty contests, one of the most prolific aquatic safety authors and winner of various awards. This story has not only touched and inspired the viewers of different nations but also gives hope and courage to those who dream to achieve goals beyond their financial and language abilities. Another video “The Greek Waterman” portrays Stathis’ life. (video:


He has authored over 300 publications including books, chapters, peer reviewed journal articles, DVDs, conference proceedings and articles in popular technical aquatic magazines/newspapers (see list here. Dr. Avramidis has published several books. Among his most popular and widely used publications the following stand out.

He authored the fairy tale book "A Chance For Children" based partially on the life and work of Greg Bonann (creator/director/producer of Baywatch and SAF3) and Tai Collins (screenwriter of SAF3). This fairy tale book, aims to be a humn to human empowerment and to pay a tribute to the inspirational work of Greg and Tai who founded the real "A Chance For Children" Foundation. He co-authored with Professor J. M. Holden Ed.D., the book "Near-Death Experiences while Drowning. Dying is not the End of Consciousness" that was published in September 2015 by Eagle Editions at the University of North Texas (more). He published the "Lifesaving Sport", a book with 46 co-authors from 12 countries.

He co-authored with Ioannis Dimakopoulos and Dr. Ioanna Mastora the book “Lifesaving as Olympic Sport” that was highly commented by several prestigious lifesaving, swimming and Olympic authorities.

Conference Organizer

  • In 2004, he organized the Lifeguard Congress of the European Lifeguard Academy.
  • In 2012, he organized the Lifeguard Meeting of Memory and Honor for Today and Tomorrow that was endorsed by the National School of Public Health, the Hellenic Red Cross, the Hellenic Federation of Underwater Activity and the International Swimming Hall of Fame.
  • In 2012, Stathi was the Co-Chairman of the International Aquatic History Symposium & Film Festival that was held at the [International Swimming Hall of Fame] on 9-12 May 2012 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, U.S.A. The Symposium & Film Festival included keynote speeches, film showings, book signings, museum tours, exhibitions, oral and poster presentations and prizes for best contributions and brough together a number of personalities from around the world who created films or books that documented history of aquatic sports. Co-Chairman Dr. Avramidis said, "We live in water and we are made by water; 75% of our planet is covered by and 95% of our body is constituted by water. This explains why the history of aquatics is a so intriguing theme for a symposium and a film festival. Let’s meet in the Mecca of Aquatics to witness the extraordinary achievements that we have made from antiquity until today."
  • In 2017, Stathi was the Co-Chairman of the "Conference on Near-Death Experiences while Drowning" at the International Swimming Hall of Fame with ISHOF's President/CEO, Bruce Wigo.

Lifesaving Sport in Greece

Dr Avramidis is widely known as the “father” of lifesaving sport in Greece. Since 2011, he has been instrumental organizing 3 Pan-Hellenic Lifesaving Championships (2015, 2016, 2017), 1 Military Lifesaving Tournament (2017), 3 Greek Lifesaving Cups (2020, 2021, 2022) and 2 University Lifesaving Competitions (2018, 2019). In addition, he has organized teams that participated in 3 British University Lifesaving Association’s Championships (2019, 2020, 2021). Overall, he has taught to over 21,300 people and raised awareness to another 119,000 people on water safety and lifesaving sport in many countries between 2014-2022.

Sport Career

Dr Avramidis has been involved in sports as athlete and coach. He has been a podium athlete 5 times as water polo player with the team of Olympiakos of Piraues. He has competed in Cyprus, UK, Ireland, Brazil, USA and Italy and been a podium athlete a few times in lifesaving sport: 2nd place, Iron Guard, Water World Water Park, Cyprus 1998. 3rd place, 4x50m Medley Relay, Men, Open Category, British University Lifesaving Clubs’ Association 2020 Championships His athletes have gained the following podium rankings: 3rd place, 4x10m Rope Throw Relay, Men, Open Category, British University Lifesaving Clubs’ Association 2019 Championships 3rd place, 4x50m Medley Relay, Men, Open Category, British University Lifesaving Clubs’ Association 2020 Championships 2rd place, 4x50m Pool Lifesaver Relay, Mixed, Open Category, British University Lifesaving Clubs’ Association 2020 Championships 1st place, 1km Beach Run, Men 75+, World Lifesaving Championships.

International Initiatives and Involvements

Dr Avramidis serves actively 4 international organizations as a member. He is a Board Member of the International Swimming Hall of Fame, the International Federation of Swimming Teachers’ Association and the Mediterranean Lifesaving Confederation and a Business Commission Member of the International Life Saving Federation.

He is the organizer of the project “Safe Greece” that is implemented by the Greek Lifesaving Sports Association with the support of the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation (PCMF). Since 2015, each year the project benefits between 3,000-16,000 people (children or adults) on water safety and lifesaving sport.

He is the editor and publisher of the e-magazine “Sport Lifesaver” that is distributed each month freely to prestigious personalities and national or international organizations in over 120 countries. The magazine acts as a scholarly pedestal for outstanding individuals (Hall of Famers, authors, academics, top athletes and organization representatives). It contains articles of prestigious individuals, professionals and other credible authorities. Among the most notable people that have been published in it are HSH Princess Charlene of Monaco, Greg Bonann (the famous director of the TV show “Baywatch”), Dr. Harald Vervaecke (the “father” and Secretary General of the International Life Saving Federation), Dr. Tom Griffiths (ISHOF Paragon Water Safety Award recipient), Dr. Joost Bierens (ISHOF Paragon Water Safety Award recipient) to mention a few.

Programs edit

  • Dr Avramidis has created several water safety programs for national or international organizations. These include the following:
  • International Water Safety Program of the International Swimming Hall of Fame (2014),
  • National Water Safety Program of the Hellenic Ministry of Health (2015).
  • Program “A Chance For Children”: It is inspired by true events that took place during the filming of the famous TV series “Baywatch”. It is a program endorsed by 17 national and international organizations (2016).
  • International Water Safety Program – Charlie the savior: It was inspired by a true story that took place during the filming of the TV series “Baywatch”. It is a program endorsed by the International Life Saving Federation, the World Open Water Swimming Association, the Royal Life Saving Society Commonwealth, the International Federation of Swimming Teachers’ Association, the A Chance For Children Foundation and the Greek Lifesaving Sports Association. It has been accepted by the Hellenic Ministry of Education to be taught in schools of Greece and Greek diaspora.
  • KLAIARCHOS, MARINA AND THE SHORT: This program of the Greek Lifesaving Sports Association, is based on a modern aquatic myth that uses the aquatic environment as a background to speak about justice, bullying, swimming, drowning prevention and lifesaving sport (in press).

Some of the above programs, are freely available online here:

Quotes During Memorable Moments

Dr Avramidis is known for his humorous and philosophical quotes:

•"I always tried to have my wordrobe and fridge semi-full and my library full" (Interviewed about his "Mr Greece 2000" title in the TV program "Aroma Elladas" 2000).

•"When we meet, our Creator will ask us what we did in our lives for love and learning" (in his book 'A Chance For Children' 2013).

•"I got an office at the Hall of Fame where there was a label that said 'everyone brings joy to this office; some when they come and some when they leave'. Thank you for honoring me tonight for my work and because I am Greek" (awarding ceremony at the International Swimming Hall of Fame, USA 2012).

2009 Paragon Aquatic Safety Award Winner

Greatest Watermen in Open Water Swimming History

He was named as one of the Greatest Watermen in Open Water Swimming History by the World Open Water Swimming Association in 2015:

1. Zacharias Alexandrakis (Macedonia): Marathon swimming enthusiast, open water swimming promoter, lifeguard, swimming coach and lifesaving leader.
2. Antonio Argüelles Díaz-González (Mexico): Triathlete, ultra-endurance athlete, channel swimmer and author
3. Stathis Avramidis, Ph.D. (Greece): Researcher, swimmer, author, speaker, and lecturer
4. Peter Bales (South Africa): Channel swimmer, marathon swimmer, governing body administrator and escort pilot
5. Vito Bialla (U.S.A.): Extreme relay swimmer, professional sailor, and escort pilot of the Farallon Islands, California
6. Paul Blackbeard (South Africa): World-class pool swimmer, ocean swimmer, and life saver
7. Lord Byron (Great Britain): Poet, author and pioneering sea swimmer
8. Dick Campion (Australia): Olympian, coach, trainer, author, promoter, and professional marathon swimmer
9. Daniel Eulogio Carpio Massioti (Peru): Four-time Olympian, Channel swimmer, professional racer, and solo swimmer
10. Bruckner Chase (U.S.A.): marathon swimmer, ocean advocate, ambassador to the disabled, filmmaker, paddler and surf lifesaver
11. Buster Crabbe (U.S.A.): Olympic champion, ice swimmer, promoter, and movie star of 3 pulp fiction heroes
12. Guy Delage (France): Ocean swimmer, extreme adventurer, diver, submariner, and sailor
13. Marcos Díaz (Dominican Republic): Marathon racer, extreme swimmer, surfer, governing body administrator, and event director
14. Shannon Eckstein (Australia): Ironman lifesaver, paddler, kayaker, surf skier and ocean swimmer
15. Ian Emberson (Kauai, U.S.A.): Channel swimmer, original Ironman triathlete, ocean swimmer, event director, and triathlete
16. George Freeth (Hawai, U.S.A.): Ocean swimmer, surfer, paddler, and lifesaver organizer
17. Alfréd Hajós (Hungary): Olympic champion, professional racer, and architect
18. Trevor Hendy (Australia): Ironman lifesaver, paddler, kayaker, surf skier and ocean swimmer
19. Colin Hill (Great Britain): Ice swimmer, Channel swimmer, television commentator, and event director
20. Craig Hummer (U.S.A.): Competitive swimmer, kayaker, paddler, Ironman lifesaver, and Olympic television commentator
21. Ky Hurst (Australia): Ocean swimmer, two-time Olympian, body surfer extraordinaire, and champion life saver
22. Zhang Jian (China): Marathon swimmer, Channel swimmer, ice swimmer and university sports director
23. Captain Tim Johnson (U.S.A.): Marathon swimmer, author, professor, shark cage designer, analyst, and historian
24. Duke Kahanamoku (Hawaii): Ocean swimmer, Olympic champion, surfing legend and ambassador of aloha
25. Grant Kenny (Australia): Ironman lifesaver, paddler, kayaker, surf skier and ocean swimmer
26. Guy Leech (Australia): Ironman lifesaver, paddler, kayaker, surf skier and ocean swimmer
27. Luiz Eduardo Carneiro da Silva de Souza Lima (Brazil): Two-time Olympian, stand-up paddler, ocean swimming coach, pioneering ocean swimmer and promoter
28. Pádraig Mallon (Ireland): Marathon swimmer, Channel swimmer, ice swimmer, event organizer, promoter and triathlete
29. Vojislav Mijić (Serbia): Marathon swimmer, professional racer, solo pioneer and event organizer
30. Masayuki Moriya (Japan): Coach, channel swimmer, event organizer, clinician, and governing body administrator
31. Keo Nakama (Hawaii/U.S.A.): World champion, world record holder, pioneering ocean swimmer, event organizer and coach
32. Aaron Peirsol (U.S.A.): 7-time Olympic medalist, surfer, lifeguard, coach, and body surfer extraordinaire
33. Lewis Pugh (Great Britain): Channel swimmer, marathon swimmer, ocean advocate, ambassador, author, and speaker
34. Kevin Richards (South Africa): Competitive swimmer, triathlete, surf lifesaver, and coach
35. Philip Rush (New Zealand): Channel swimmer, marathon swimmer, professional racer, escort pilot, channel administrator, and fire fighter
36. Wayne Riddin (South Africa): Competitive swimmer, race director, aquapreneur, coach and promoter
37. Veljko Rogošić (Croatia): Two-time Olympic swimmer, professional racer, solo pioneer, swimming ambassador and marathon swimmer
38. Kenny Rust (Hawaii, U.S.A.): Ocean swimmer, lifeguard, aquapreneur, and event safety official
39. Ori Sela (Israel): Sea swimmer, coach, therapist, pioneer relay swimmer and aquapreneur
40. Borut Strel (Slovenia): Coach, swimmer, clinician, planner and logistic expert
41. Martin Strel (Slovenia): Channel swimmer, marathon swimmer, extreme adventurer, film protagonist, and camp clinician
42. Georgios-Ioannis Tsianos, M.D., Ph.D. (Greece): Research scientist, physician, expedition medic and Channel swimmer
43. Christof Wandratsch (Germany): Channel swimmer, professional racer, solo pioneer, ice swimming record holder and event promoter
44. Captain Matthew Webb (Great Britain): Channel swimmer, extreme adventurer, and professional racer
45. Johnny Weissmuller (U.S.A.): 4-time Olympic champion and movie star with a household name
46. Alick Wickham (Solomon Islands): Ocean swimmer, high diver, body surfing promoter, surfboard shaper, and freestyle ambassador
47. Patrick Winkler (Brazil): Competitive swimmer, ocean swimmer, stand-up paddler, race promoter and publisher of The Swim Channel Magazine
48. Jabez Wolffe (Great Britain): Channel aspirant and coach in the early generations of channel swimming
49. Doug Woodring (Hong Kong/U.S.A.): Marine environment ambassador, ecology advocate, aquapreneur, ocean event director, paddler, diver, and ocean swimmer
50. David Yudovin (U.S.A.): Channel swimmer, marathon swimmer, aquapreneur, benefactor and mariner

Charlie the savior

Charlie the savior is international water safety program inspired by Charlie Hayes and the true events and characters of Baywatch and endorsed by the legendary director Greg Bonann and 7 international organizations.

External links