SA swimmers 3rd in poll

2012-01-04 10:03

Five South African endurance swimmers were voted third in a poll for the US-based World Open Water Swimming Association’s (Wowsa) performance of the year.

Capetonians Ram Barkai, Toks Viviers, Andrew Chin, Kieron Palframan and Ryan Stramrood’s Patagonia Extreme Cold Water Challenge caught the eye of voters who had to choose between endurance swims by 17 individuals and teams.

The five completed three of the world’s most extreme cold water swims in less than two weeks, including a 2.5km around Cape Horn, a world first.

Water temperatures for those swims were eight degrees Celsius or lower and their only protection was their Speedo swimming costume, goggles and a cap.

Wowsa said today about their swim: “They explored the outer reaches of their physiological limits and proved to themselves – and others – what is possible with tough-nosed training.”

They swam 4.5 km across the Strait of Magellan, a 3.2 km double cross of the Beagle Channel and 2.5 km around Cape Horn, all in “wind-whipped seas with little time to recover”.

In the online poll, Nejib Belhedi was voted first for a 1 400km solo stage swim along the coast of his home country Tunisia.

He was followed by Selina Moreno Pasagali of Spain who overcame breast cancer to complete several open water swims around the world.

The five South Africans are currently seeking sponsorship to participate in an international relay across the Bering Strait between Russia and the US in July this year.

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