Who in aquatics captured your attention this year? The following five individuals were featured in some of the biggest Aquatics International news stories of 2013.

Kali Hardig In July, 12-year-old Kali Hardig became seriously ill with primary amoebic meningoencephalitis, which she likely contracted from a sandy-bottom lake at Willow Springs Water Park in Little Rock, Ark. She became one of less than 5 individuals in the United States to survive the infection and later returned to the waterpark to appear at a benefit organized on her behalf.

Esther Williams Hollywood’s original aquatic “It Girl” passed away on June 6. She leaves behind a legacy of classic “aqua musical” films that have inspired generations.

Rick Curl In February, former Olympic swim coach Rick Curl pled guilty to a charge of child sexual abuse. He had been arrested and charged in 2012, after Kelley Currin (maiden name Davies), a former swim student, told authorities that he began abusing her in 1983. She was 13 at the time.

Rudy Garcia-Tolson A four-time Paralympian and an Ironman Triathlon finisher, Rudy Garcia-Tolson travels the world as a fierce competitor and motivational speaker. In October, he gave the opening Keynote address for the Aquatics International Virtual Conference. You can still catch a recording of his comments here.

Diana Nyad After five previous tries, 2013 was the year endurance swimmer Diana Nyad finally accomplished her goal of swimming 110 miles between Cuba and Florida. While some questioned whether or not she had help in legitimately reaching her destination without aid, Nyad celebrated with a 48 hour charity swim  in New York.

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