Ned Denison (born 21 November 1957) is a 63-year-old American-born, Ireland-residing, global-trotting open water swimmer, coach and administrator who was inducted in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame as an Honor Contributor in the Class of 2012.
Open Water Swimming Highlights
- He was the first European swimmer to achieve the Frosted Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming.
- Denison wass the co-host of the Open Water Wednesday interview series - 2000 to 2022.
- Denison has completed 55 epic marathon swims of which 18 were 16 miles (25 km) or more including the English Channel, the Catalina Channel and the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim as a member of the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming and the Half Century Club
- Denison has completed the 65.9 km Round Jersey
- Denison has completed a 26 km Jersey to France crossing
- Denison completed the 26.4 km Lake Zurich Marathon Swim
- Denison completed the 25 km Minorca Marathon Swim
- Denison was the first person to swim around Valentia Island (27 km)
- Denison was the first person to swim around Great (Cobh) Island (26 km) in Ireland - and still the only one as of 2021.
- Denison became the fifth person in history to cross False Bay on 30 December 2012 from Rooi Els to Miller's point in 11 hours 5 minutes under the guidance of pilot Arend Grondman
- Denison crossed the Santa Barbara Channel between Santa Cruz Island and the California mainland in a record time at the time of 10 hours 27 minutes in 2006
- Denison finished second male in the 2016 15-mile (24.1 km) Border Buster swim in Lake Memphremagog, Vermont
- Denison completed in 2014 the S.C.A.R. Swim Challenge of 4 marathon swims in 4 days (62 km) - including Apache Lake at 27.3 km. His was the fastest men's time until broken in 2021 and remains the second fastest man after 2022.
- Denison completed the Formentura to Ibiza (SE End) 30 km in 2016
- Denison completed the 19.8 km Rottnest Channel Swim in Western Australia.
- Denison swam around Robben Island in Cape Town, South Africa (11 km)
- Denison swam around Ile du Levant via cap-Blance to Hyeres (24 km) - in the first group ever to complete the swim
- Denison completed a Ijsselmeer swim of 22 km in the Netherlands.
- Denison completed The Cold Half in Hong Kong (15 km) in record time in 2014 (for non-wetsuits) and broke his own record in 2017.
- On 15 February 2014, he won in 4 hours 18 minutes 33 minutes at the age of 56.
- On 18 February 2017, he won in 3 hours 52 minutes 25 seconds at the age of 59.
- Denison completed a 4-way Strait of Messina crossing (12.8 km) in record time
- Denison completed the crossing to Inisbofin Island (12.8 km)
- Denison completed a crossing of Lake Champlain (12.8 km)
- Denison completed a Rathlin Island swim (10 km) in Ireland.
- Denison completed a Cork City to Cobh swim (16 km) three times in Ireland.
- Denison completed a Blackrock to Cobh swim (13 km) in Ireland.
- Denison completed the Garryvoe around Ballycotton and into Ballycotton Pier (11 km)
- Denison completed a crossing of the Strait of Gibraltar, 14.4 km in 3 hours 33 minutes on 24 July 2013
- Denison completed a swim from River Lee Dam to County Hall (12.5 km) twice
- Denison completed a 8 km around Cape Point in South Africa, tying the record time.
- Denison and two others completed the first unassisted solo swims from Devil's Island:13.3 km (8.3-mile) from Île St Joseph to French Guiana mainland near Kourou together with Jacques Tuset and Jills Vanegas on 17 February 2016 in 3 hours, 45 minutes; the swim was an historic first
- Denison completed a circumnavigation swim around Anacapa (10 miles/16 km) – the first group counter clockwise
- Denison completed Fuerteventura to Lanzarote, 11.15 km
- Denison completed Robben Island 7.4 km, twice in less than 2 hours
- Denison completed Galway Bay 10.4 km
- On 5 August 2017, he competed in the 8-mile Boston Light Swim in Massachusetts.
- Denison completed the 29th Swimming Marathon of the Messinian Gulf, a 30 km race between Kalamata and Koroni in Greece, on 9 September 2017.
- Denison completed in Guildford (1 mile/hour over 24 hours with night air temperatures at 0 C)
- Denison completed 5 Champion of Champions (5 miles/8 km, 3 miles/4.8 km then 1 mile/1.6 km): 2008 British Long Distance Swimming Association: 1 hour 44 minutes for the 5 mile leg - 4th place male overall and 2008-2014 in Ireland - twice winner and twice second.
- Denison completed a 35 km swim from Dharmatar to Gateway of India in the center of Mumbai in 7 hours 41 minutes 43 seconds on 28 November 2018 at the age of 61.
- Denison was named one of the World's 50 Most Adventurous Open Water Men in 2019 by the World Open Water Swimming Association.
- Denison completed the Frosted Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming on 10 February 2013.
- Denison completed an unprecedented 8 km circumnavigation swim around the City of Cork, Ireland on 3 June 2019 and won the race in 2021
- Denison was the sixth fastest bioprene swimmer in 7:56:56 at the 27 km La Batalla de Rande a Nado between the Cies Islands, at the mouth of the Ria de Vigo, and the small island of San Simón island in Galicia in the northwest of Spain on 22 June 2019.
- Denison completed the 32 km Los Cabos Open Water Swim in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico in a record time of 10 hours 10 minutes 22 seconds on 19 March 2020.
- He is a member of the ISHOF Open Water Nomination Screening Committee.
- On 29 January 2022, he won the 10th Eastern Bay Invitational International Ice Mile Swim, tied for first with John Ryan, in Lough Dan Scout Centre, County Wicklow, south of Dublin, Ireland in 25 minutes 22 seconds. He concedes that Ryan touched first.
- He served on the Board of Directors of the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame prior to organizational structural changes in 2015 and then serve on the Executive Committee - currently as the Chairperson.
- Denison was previously on the International Ice Swimming Association Executive Committee, selection committee of the 25-mile In Search of Memphre international marathon swim between Vermont, U.S.A. and Magog, Canada and the selection committee for the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim
- Denison co-founded the Santa Barbara Channel Swimming Association together with Emilio Casanueva in 2005.
- Denison co-founded the Vermont Open Water Swimming Hall of Fame in 2017 together with Phil White.
- Denison led the establishment of the Ice Swimming Hall of Fame that inducted its initial class in 2018.
- Denison co-founded the Hall of Fame – Marathon Swimming Ireland
Water Polo Career
Denison’s early aquatic years were spent as a seven-time All-American water polo goalie with teams in New York City; Berkeley, California ; and London, England.
- Denison completed an ice swim in 4.6ºC in 2013 in 24 minutes 42 seconds under the auspices of the International Ice Swimming Association. He participated in the 2015 Ireland Ice Swimming Championships 1 km race in Conroy Pond, Northern Ireland in 3.1°C water, placing second overall in a time of 14:37:29 which was a new age group world record at the time. One week later, he completed a second ice mile.
Denison was the first swimmer to declare achievement of the Circumnavigation Sevens on 19 June 2020. He has completed more than 2,300 circumnavigation swims around 16 islands around the world as of June 2020. The circumnavigation swims and islands are listed below in order from longest to shortest distance. He lives 5 km from his normal training location which often involves multiple daily laps of Sandycove Island in Kinsale, Ireland.
- 51 km around the Isle of Jersey in the English Channel in 2010
- 45.9 km around Manhattan Island in New York City in 2007
- 27 km around Valentia Island in County Kerry, Ireland, first circumnavigation swim in 2008
- 26 km aroundGreat Island (Cohb) in County Cork, Ireland, first and only circumnavigation swim in 2006
- 17.7 km around Anacapa Island in California in 2016
- 11 km around Robben Island in Cape Town, South Africa in 2011
- 10.5 km around Reengaroga Island in County Cork, Ireland in 2019
- 7 km around Cork City in County Cork, Ireland, first and only circumnavigation swim in 2019
- 4 km around Spanish Island in County Cork, Ireland, 3 times between 2015 and 2019
- 3 km around Ballycotton in County Cork, Ireland, 3 times between 2009 and 2016
- 3 km and 5.5 km around Sovereigns in County Cork, Ireland, 5 times between 2009 and 2018
- 3 km around Skellig Michael in County Kerry, Ireland in 2010
- 3 km around Garnish Island in County Cork, Ireland, 8 times between 2015 and 2018
- 1.9 km around Blueberry Island in Green River Reservoir, Vermont, USA in 2016
- 1.6 km around Sandycove Island in County Cork, Ireland as lap leader of Sandycove Island, 2,659 times between 2000 and 30 May 2021
- 1.5 km to 3 km around Lough Ine in County Cork, Ireland, 20 times between 2003 and 19 June 2020
He coined the term Triple Break or the Triple Crown of Prison Island Swims that includes swim to/from/around Alcatraz Island in the USA, Spike Island in Ireland, and Robben Island in South Africa. He subsequently completed 13 different 'breaks'.
- Denison was inducted on the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California at the annual International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame ceremonies as a member of the Class of 2012 as an Honour Administrator.
- Denison received the Irving Davids-Captain Roger Wheeler Memorial Award from the International Swimming Hall of Fame in the Class of 2013 where was honoured in Cork, Ireland at the annual International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame ceremonies.
- Denison was one of the recipients of the Poseidon Award from the International Swimming Hall of Fame together with Oswald Schmidt, Paschal Horgan, Captain Tom McCarthy, Ciaran O'Connor, and Finbarr Hedderman as part of the Global Open Water Swimming Conference Cork 2013 organisation committee.
- Denison was nominated for the 2010 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year award and received the Margaret Smith Award in 2011 (Individual event Organiser) from the ILDSA.
- His 9 marathon swims during 2013 were collectively nominated for the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.
- The collective efforts of the organizing committee for the 2013 Global Open Water Swimming Conference which Denison played a key role, was nominated for the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
- He is an Honoree of the Hall of Fame – Marathon Swimming Ireland as an Honour Administrator inn it inaugural class and Honour Swimmer in its Class of 2019.
- He is an Honoree of the Vermonth Open Water Swimming Hall of Fame as a Ice Swimmer, Administrator and Swimmer in its Class of 2019.
Santa Barbara Channel Swimming Association
A founding member of the Santa Barbara Channel Swimming Association (2006 and on Board until 2012). Commenting on his Santa Barbara Channel swim: "I was absolutely taken in by the city and hosted in fine fashion by the other Board members, kayakers and three Honourees of the IMSHOF: Alison and Freda Streeter and David Yudovin. On the day the sun was fantastic and the playful seals and majestic manta rays were the best aquatic life I have ever seen on a swim."
Cork Distance Week
Denison helps organise several of the longer swims in Ireland and leads the annual Cork Distance Week, which draws more than 80 swimmers each year. He is an excellent contact (email@example.com) for swimmers looking to Europe and/or colder swim training.
Denison's Cork Distance Week was nominated for the 2012 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year award. Its World Open Water Swimming Association nomination reads, "A tiny part of the world – Sandycove Island in Ireland – has become a must-do and must-see in the channel swimming world. Sandycove plays host to the Cork Distance Week, the absolutely most brutal, the most unforgiving, the downright dastardly difficult open water swimming camp in the world. Led by a mountain of a man who has pushed himself to the brink, the Cork Distance Week has a tremendous record of channel swimming success. Offered for an unbelievable reasonable price in elements that can be completely and thoroughly unreasonable, the Cork Distance Week prepares all-comers for anything and everything in the open water. For its 8-day high mileage of intense preparation, for its unyielding psychological and physiological stress that it offers, for its unequaled record of success, the Cork Distance Week by Ned Denison is a worthy nominee for the 2012 WOWSA Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year."
Cork Distance Week was also the subject of a documentary television program called The Torture Swim by CBS 60 Minutes on Showtime with Jeff Glor, produced by Alan Goldberg. The Torture Swim was nominated for the 2014 WOWSA Awards' World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.
2016 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year Nomination
2018 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year Nomination
He was nominated for the 2018 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year by the World Open Water Swimming Association:
Ned Denison is an accomplished swimmer with Ice Miles and 47 marathons including the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming, False Bay and the record holder in The Cold Half and S.C.A.R. Swim Challenge. But his influence is much greater and global as an administrator, visionary, motivator, coach and personable facilitator. His Cork Distance Week celebrated 10 years including nearly 100 attendees at The Triple Crown Dinner to celebrate 16 swimmers. He recognizes and honors swimmers around the world as the Chair of the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame. Growing internationally, he organized the last two induction dinners in London - with the first individuals honored from Sweden and South Africa and the second from China – leading to the first in Asia Pacific (Melbourne) in 2019. He communicates, he researches, he calls out safety issues, he recognizes heroes and heroines of the sport. For directing the limelight to both popular and relatively unknown luminaries in the ice swimming and marathon swimming communities, for bringing the open water swimming world together via news reports on social media augmented by a constant stream of communications, and for making everyone feel a part of a growing and more global network of like-minded swimmers, Ned Denison of Ireland/USA is a worthy nominee for the 2018 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.
2014 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year Nomination
"Like a perfect golf swing or 10m platform dive, it looks so good when things come together. Producer Alan Goldberg, host Jeff Glor and protagonist Ned Denison came together to create The Torture Swim, a look at the one of the most dangerous and unheralded sports in the world. For a group of unknown adults training around a small Irish island to be showcased on America, something – and everyone – has to be special. The rawness and cruelty of the sport, the ambiance and the challenges of Cork Distance Week, the turbulence and inherent risks of the sea were marvelously captured and showcased for television audiences with short attention spans. But the scenery and emotions enraptured viewers as the program kicked off with powerful imagery and never let up as it culminated in explaining the inexplicable – why swimmers accept physical agony beyond comprehension. For its compelling presentation of the sport, for making heroes of everyday swimmers, for its ingenuity in creating stunning visuals of Sandycove Island, The Torture Swim by 60 Minutes Sports is a worthy nominee for the 2014 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year."
Ireland Ice Swimming Championships
World's 50 Most Adventurous Open Water Men
Cork Distance Week
2017 World's 50 Most Adventurous Open Water Men
1. Dr. Doron Amosi, extreme relay/cross-border swimmer from Israel
2. Antonio Argüelles Díaz-González, channel swimmer and endurance athlete from Mexico
3. Cyril Baldock, marathon/channel swimmer from Australia
4. Ram Barkai, administrator, event organizer and ice swimmer from South Africa
5. John Batchelder, butterflying marathon swimmer from USA
6. Nejib Belhedi, marathon/stage/boat pull swimmer from Tunisia
7. Alexander Brylin, channel ice swimmer from Russia
8. Luc Chetboun, extreme relay/cross-border swimmer from Israel
9. Salvatore Cimmino, amputee advocate and marathon/extreme swimmer from Italy
10. Jean Craven, marathon/extreme swimmer from South Africa
11. Ned Denison, IMSHOF administrator and marathon/ice swimmer from Ireland
12. Craig Dietz, disabled open water swimmer from USA
13. Ben Enosh, extreme relay/cross-border swimmer from Israel/USA
14. Udi Erell, extreme relay/cross-border swimmer from Israel
15. Stephen Junk, channel swimmer from Australia
16. Henri Kaarma, event organizer and ice swimmer from Estonia
17. Ger Kennedy, ice, underwater and extreme swimmer from Ireland
18. Craig Lenning, marathon/channel/ice swimmer from the USA
19. Neil Macaskill, extreme/cross-border swimmer from South Africa
20. Pádraig Mallon, escort pilot, event organizer and marathon/channel/ice swimmer from Ireland
21. Ingemar Patiño Macarine, channel/marathon swimmer from the Philippines
22. Andrew Malinak, administrator and cold water/marathon/channel swimmer from the USA
23. Chris Marthinusen, extreme/high-altitude swimmer from South Africa
24. Patrick McKnight, marathon/channel swimmer from the USA
25. Allan McLeland, Peak and Pond swimmer/climber from the USA
26. Darren Miller, channel swimmer and event director from the USA
27. Rohan More, marathon/channel swimmer from India
28. Gullupilli Narhari, extreme relay swimmer from India
29. Matías Ola, event organizer and ice/extreme swimmer from Argentina
30. Kieron Palframan, ice/extreme swimmer from South Africa
31. James Pittar, blind marathon/channel swimmer from Australia
32. Javier Mérida Prieto, disabled Triple Crown swimmer from Spain
33. Lewis Pugh OIG, ocean advocate and ice/extreme swimmer from the UK
34. Oded Rahav, extreme relay/cross-border swimmer from Israel
35. Stephen Redmond, channel/marathon swimmer from Ireland
36. Adrian Sarchet, marathon/channel swimmer from Guernsey
37. Ori Sela, extreme relay/cross-border swimmer from Israel
38. Dan Simonelli, coach/guide/observer and marathon/channel swimmer from the USA
39. Paramvir Singh, extreme relay swimmer from India
40. Albert Sobirov, ice swimmer from Russia
41. Petar Stoychev, marathon/channel/ice/Olympic swimmer from Bulgaria
42. Ryan Stramrood, ice/extreme swimmer from South Africa
43. Martin Strel, marathon/stage swimmer from Slovenia
44. Dr. Otto Thaning, channel/marathon swimmer from South Africa
45. Jacques Tuset, prison island swimmer from France
46. Toks Viviers, ice/extreme swimmer from South Africa
47. Adam Walker, coach, event organizer, and channel swimmer from England
48. Christof Wandratsch, event organizer and ice/marathon/channel/professional swimmer from Germany
49. Brenton Williams, event organizer and butterfly ocean swimmer from South Africa
50. Herman van der Westhuizen, extreme high-altitude swimmer from South Africa
Swimming with Shivers
Denison wrote a story for Swimming With Shivers, a book co-authored by Claire Bunker-Fellingham and Gary Standen about true stories from, by and about open water swimmers doing cold water swimming, winter swimming, and ice swimming. The stories in Swimming with Shivers are from, by and about Carl Atkinson, Deborah Banks, Ram Barkai, Jo Barkwith, Andy Bennett, Katie Blair, Sylvia Bland, Gideon Bright, Claire Bunker-Fellingham, Judith Charman, Sze-Ming Cheung, Chillswim, Tracy Clark, David Coleman, Phil Coombe, Talbott Crowell, Nick Dorey, Dryrobe, Ros Edmonds, Rory Fitzgerald, Daniel Gilmore, Will Glendinning, Gone Swimming, Rebecca Goodson, Julie Gregory, Shaun Hales, Happy Cold Swimming, Louise Hazelton, Colin Hill, Elaine Howley, International Ice Swimming Association, Roni Jelgavas, Mark Johansen, Jody Jones, Ele Jump, Ger Kennedy, Ivan Lewis, Julie Lloyd, Jules McRobbie, Sally Minty-Gravett MBE, Jaimie Monahan, Steven Munatones, Diane Murphy Weaver, Jim Nyberg, Barry O'Connor, Outdoor Swimmer, Simon Parkin, Lisa Peake, Kevin Proctor, Jane Saycet, Val Smith, Fergal Somerville, Jodi Songhurst, Gary Standen, Lucy Stansfield, Kate Steels-Fryatt, Swimming With Smiles Book, Tidal Wave Fitness, Jonty Warneken, Karen Weir, Haydn Welch, Samantha Whelpton, Emily Whittaker, and Nicola Wood.