Africa’s toughest Indian Ocean Swim is wide open

2017-03-15 08:22
More than 100 swimmers are expected to tackle Africa’s toughest Indian Ocean Swim, the Jendamark Bellbuoy Challenge, on March 21. Photo:DIRK ERASMUS

More than 100 swimmers are expected to tackle Africa’s toughest Indian Ocean Swim, the Jendamark Bellbuoy Challenge, on March 21. Photo:DIRK ERASMUS

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WITH just under a week until the Eastern Cape’s richest open water swim takes place, it is clear that it is going to be a wide open race for line honours in the two different categories.

With an overall prize pool of R39 000 and the winners in both the swimsuit and wetsuit categories taking home a whopping R4 500 each, swimmers from around the country are being attracted to Nelson Mandela Bay on Human Rights Day (Tuesday, March 21) to compete in Africa’s toughest Indian Ocean Swim.

The Jendamark Bellbuoy Challenge is a daunting 5km sea swim which sees participants going 2.5km straight out to sea to round the nautical bell buoy directly off Pollok Beach.

While it is usually an easy swim out to the buoy, the currents around the area will make for a very tough rounding and return to shore which, in some instances, can see swimmers’ return times double that of their outgoing time.

Amy Mardon has won the ladies’ wetsuit category three times in a row and Hannah Haswell the ladies’ swimsuit category twice, but this year, the appearance of Nelson Mandela Bay Aquatics 10km and 5km champion, Amica de Jager, could change things.

The Woodridge College student has been swimming particularly well this season and recently won the SPAR Ladies River Mile, continuing to break her personal bests throughout the season.

A win at the Jendamark Bellbuoy Challenge would be a fitting close to a remarkable open-water swimming season for her.

The mens’ defending wetsuit champion and currently the number one seed in Eastern Province open-water swimming, Ian Venter, will be keen to secure some great prize money, but will be pushed hard by the likes of Kevin Richards, Slater Black and Pretoria’s swimming legend, Gary Albertyn.

In addition, Rolf Kordes (76) and Maria Stott (61) are currently the oldest registrants for this year with Paige Black (14) and Heinrich Venter (14) being the youngest.

The Jendamark Bellbuoy Challenge offers a fantastic spectacle from the shores of Pollok Beach where spectators can watch the entire race unfold in front of them. The race will start at 8.30am, where the winners are expected to take just under an hour.

The race briefing for all the participants will take place at 6pm on Monday, March 20 at News Cafe, The Boardwalk.

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