Ned Denison

From Open Water Swimming Wiki

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[edit]


Water Polo Career[edit]

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.

Ice Swimming[edit]

Ned Denison[edit]

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.

Triple Break[edit]

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'.


Santa Barbara Channel Swimming Association[edit]

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[edit]

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 ( 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[edit]

The Prison Island Swims were nominated for the 2016 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.

2018 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year Nomination[edit]

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[edit]

"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."

1.3 km swimming escape from the Fort Royal de Sainte-Marguerite to Palm Beach in Cannes, France by Ned Denison, Jean-Yves Faure and Jacques Tuset escorted by Jean-Christophe Grand.

Ireland Ice Swimming Championships[edit]

Video by Pádraig Mallon at the 2015 Ireland Ice Swimming Championships, hosted by the Camlough Lake Water Festival at Wild Water Armagh (Conroy Pond) in Northern Ireland.

World's 50 Most Adventurous Open Water Men[edit]

He was named one of the World's 50 Most Adventurous Open Water Men in 2015 by the World Open Water Swimming Association.

Anacapa Island Circumnavigation[edit]

by swimmers Ned Denison, Liz Fry, Fionnuala Walsh, escorted by Ben Pitterle, fed by Barbara Flanagan, and observed by Theo Schmeeckle and Lynn Kubasek

Cork Distance Week[edit]

The Torture Swim hosted by Jeff Glor, produced by Alan Goldberg at Sandycove Island, Ireland during Cork Distance Week, organized by Ned Denison

2017 World's 50 Most Adventurous Open Water Men[edit]

Denison is named to the World's 50 Most Adventurous Open Water Men in 2017 (alphabetized by last name) by the World Open Water Swimming Association:

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[edit]

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.

Marathon Swim Stories[edit]

He appeared with Shannon House Keegan on Marathon Swim Stories.

External links[edit]