Historical Overview of the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame
IMSHOF founded and a panel of selectors (Commander Gerald Forsberg, OBE, RN of England, Buck Dawson of the International Swimming Hall of Fame in Florida and Joe Grossman) named “classes” of six Honorees for each year from 1963 (when the World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation began to collect paper based historical data on the sport) through 1970.
Dale Petranech was the Honorary Secretary. The selection was formalized using ballots and selector included a broader geographic representation and the first non-Inductees. Dale with help from the ISHOF organized the first ever IMSHOF Induction Ceremonies - modest events in Florida around the larger ISHOF annual event. During this period Steven Munatones led the drive to move and expand the paper records to the web including www.openwaterpedia.com and the first IMSHOF website. The decision in 2005 to include the 10k marathon swim in the Olympics provided further prestige to the sport and to the IMSHOF.
The IMSHOF was an independent non-profit organization, maintaining a close working relationship with the ISHOF. Christopher Guesdon joined Dale and Steven to manage the selection process, the selector list was expanded and names published. Starting in the UN in New York in 2011 much larger/more formal induction ceremonies were held annually.
In 2015, the IMSHOF once again joined the ISHOF as a formal division of its organization. A larger, more formal Executive Committee now helps directs and manages the operation of the IMSHOF. A new website was created, tightly linked with www.openwaterpedia.com with expanded biographies of all honorees with associated videos, photos, painting and/or drawings. A Facebook page and Instagram operates and members are also contacted annually through email and newsletters. The induction ceremony in 2017 saw the largest assembly ever of 17 individual Honorees and 7 Honor Organizations.
The Mission of the IMSHOF is to promote the benefits and importance of traditional and competitive marathon swimming as a key to fitness, good health, quality of life, and water safety. We do this by maintaining a dynamic shrine dedicated to the history and recognition of marathon (open water) swimmers, including persons involved in life-saving activities of administration, general support, education and environmental awareness throughout the world, whose lives and accomplishments serve to inspire, educate, and to be role models for all.
- To nominate, and select on an annual basis, outstanding individuals or groups who qualify under the criteria for selection to the IMSHOF; traditional and competitive marathon swimmers, officials, administrators, support and safety groups and contributors, who help make the sport possible throughout the world.
- To establish and maintain a biography of the inductees selected as honorees into the IMSHOF.
- To accept nominations and award, on an annual basis, on behalf of the ISHOF, The Irving Davids/Captain Roger Wheeler Memorial Award.
- To accept nominations and award, on an annual basis, on behalf of the ISHOF, The Poseidon Award.
- To accept records and memorabilia of nominees, and provide these to the ISHOF Henning Library, archives and the ISHOF Museum on behalf of the IMSHOF.
- To conduct, on an annual basis, an IMSHOF Awards and Induction ceremony for the various award winners.
- To develop and maintain an ISHOF/IMSHOF website to promote and provide up-to-date information via periodic newsletters and external links, to its membership and the world at large regarding the world of Marathon Swimming.