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Friday, December 30, 2011

For Westporter, 2012 Could Ring in ‘Woman of the Year’

By James Lomuscio

As the ball drops New Year’s Eve, it will mean more than just ringing in the new for Westporter Elizabeth Fry. She will know whether she has won the world’s “Woman of the Year” award for open water swimming.

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Elizabeth Fry: support has been “overwhelming.” Contributed photo

Fry, 53 and a 1976 graduate of Staples High School, is one of 12 women internationally who have been nominated for the 2011 Woman of the Year award by the World Open Water Swimming Association (WOWSA).

She is up against two American swimmers and others from as far away as Sweden, New Zealand, Germany, Brazil, Australia and Great Britain.

According to WOWSA officials, Fry was nominated for “her dynamic spirit in helping others realize their open water dreams while she realizes her own potential in some of the most difficult swims around the world.”

The award also recognizes the woman who possesses a “sense of adventure, tenacity and perseverance.”

This past August, Fry became the third person ever, and the oldest, to complete a 42-mile double crossing of the English Channel.

The 42-mile trip her 24 hours and 39 minutes, with her return to England faster than her outgoing swim from France. She had previously done three other one-way channel crossings in 2003, 2004 and 2009, she said.

Last June she was also the only person to complete 35-mile Ederle Swim from Manhattan to New Jersey and back in 11 hours and 5 minutes. Doing so, she set the record for men and women.

Fry, a strategy consultant for financial institutions, pointed out that the voting for Woman of the Year began Nov. 1 and continues through Saturday night.

“Anybody can vote,” she said, noting that voting takes place online at www.openwaterswimming.com. “It’s been overwhelming how Westport has come out and been voting. I get so many nice emails from people.”

Fry, who still lives in the same Coleytown area house she moved into at age 10 with her parents, credits the Westport-Weston Family Y for honing her swimming talents at an early age.

“I trained as a teen at the Westport Y when it only had the Brophy Pool, and it was only three lanes and 20 yards,” she recalled. “Just so you know, some great swimmers came out of that pool.

“I’d just like to thank everybody for all their support,” she added. “It’s been overwhelming.”

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Posted 12/30/11 at 05:03 PM  Permalink



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