THE toughest Indian Ocean swim in the world will take place in Algoa Bay when the 2018 Jendamark Bell buoy Challenge takes place from Pollok Beach on Saturday, April 21. A daunting 5km ocean swim will see some of South Africa’s bravest open water swimmers heading 2.5km straight out to sea to round the nautical bell buoy directly off Pollok Beach. Local SA 3km open water swimming champion, Ian Venter, has announced that he will retire from open water swimming at the end of the season to take up a swimming scholarship in the USA and having won the wetsuit category of this event for the past three years he will be keen to finish off his season on a high note. Of concern is that Venter will be swimming the SA Nationals in the pool from the Monday and needs to determine whether the sea swim will effect this in anyway. Daniel Jones, a two-time winner in the swimsuit category, hasn’t done much open competitive water swimming this season, so, leaves this category wide open this year as is the ladies swimsuit category with last year’s champion Kirsten Marriott also out of the scene. Prolific ladies open water swimmer, Amica de Jager, won the wetsuit category last year and will be extremely hard to beat should she enter again. The Jendamark Bellbuoy Challenge is the Eastern Cape’s richest open water swimming event with an overall cash prize pool of R43 000 up for grabs with prizes shared equally between the swimsuit and wetsuit categories.The swim offers a fantastic spectacle from the shores of Pollok Beach where spectators can watch the race unfold in front of them. The race start is at 08:30 with the winners expected to take just under one hour, while the race briefing for all participants will take place at 18:00 on Friday, April 20 at News Cafe at the Boardwalk. For more info visit www.bellbuoychallenge.co.za.