Creeslough's Anne-Marie Ward is in need of one final push in her quest to be named the 2010 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year.
Ward, HSE West Manager in Disability Services, topped the polls on Tuesday having amassed 2,139 votes, which represented 43.3 per cent of the total 49,40 votes cast. Of the 12 women vying for the award in all, her nearest challenger is Brazil's Ana Marcela Cunha, who had clocked up 1,546 votes (31.3 per cent), while Linsy Heister from Holland was third on 560 (11.34 per cent).
In September, Ward joined one of the most elite and exclusive marathon swimming clubs in the world - the 11 members of the North (Irish) Channel club. Her 18-hour and 59-minute effort, courageously ended in darkness at 3.35am. It was her fourth overall attempt - and second attempt in 2010 - which made her first success all the more sweet.
With both the English Channel and North Channel under her belt, she completely turned around her unhealthy lifestyle and is now one of the world's most accomplished cold-water channel swimmers.
Starting with a two-mile charity swim, Ward is now at the pinnacle of her chosen sport. For her hard work and dedication to charity swims, Ward is nominated for the award, which can be votes for on www.openwatersource.com. The results will be finalised and the winner known on New Year's Day.
The website states that this award is not necessarily for the best athlete, but are meant to honour the woman who best embodies the spirit of open water swimming, possesses the sense of adventure, tenacity and perseverance that open water swimmers are known for, and has most positively influenced the world of open water swimming in 2010.
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