Annual River Mile to splash off

2019-02-14 06:00
St Francis Bay open water swimmer, Amica de Jager, will take to the water this Saturday.                            Photo:SUPPLIED

St Francis Bay open water swimmer, Amica de Jager, will take to the water this Saturday. Photo:SUPPLIED

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AFRICA’S oldest swimming event will form part of the River Mile festival at the Sundays River Cannonville Slipway this Sunday, February 17.

The 95th edition of The River Mile will take place at the beautiful venue.

The race is the oldest known open water swimming event in Africa and one of the oldest in the world. Event winners can be tracked all the way back to the first race, which was won by Roy Gregory in 1924. On that same day, the team trophy was also competed for.

The first five swimmers across the finish line from the same club were declared the winners and so The River Mile was born.

For this year’s event, swimmers will be competing in similar categories. The action in the water together with the “off-field” entertainment and R10 000 prize for the school with the most entries will promise another exciting River Mile.

There are many things that have changed during the past 95 years. The 1930s would not have seen over 400 vehicles showing up to the event; it would not have had a pop-up beer garden in the form of Bridge Street Brewery.

For a time in the 1970s, skiing became popular and displays were held at the event, a sport which is now almost non-existent in the Bay.

This year will once again see a new piece of technology used when a 144-inch big screen television will live stream the event to social media sites and be watched by hundreds of spectators in the Cerebos chill zone. The new addition is sure to create a friendly, family perfect atmosphere for everyone to enjoy.

Even though there are different winners each year, new technology which comes in from time to time, fads which come and go and recently even a venue change, The River Mile race format has remained very much the same for nearly a century.

This year’s favourites all stand the chance to put their names next to 94 others on the trophy, something not many other event winners can say.

Entries are available at www.rivermile.co.za.

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