Africa’s oldest open water swimming event

2018-02-15 06:00
<The River Mile, will be hosted at Cannonville on Sunday, February 19th.           Photo: SUPPLIED

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Hosted in Nelson Mandela Bay, The River Mile is an action packed family day out at the picturesque Cannonville on the Sunday’s River and in 2018 will be celebrating its 94th Anniversary.

Taking place on Sunday, February 18th, visitors can expect a wide variety of crafts, vendors, beer garden, Rotary Kids Zone and sporting events suitable for the entire family.

Africa’s oldest open water swim boasts a rich history of swimmers who have won this historic event including SA Olympic swimming icon, Ryk Neethling, and SA’s first ladies Olympian Joan Harrison.

At the age of just 12 years, Harrison won the Ladies Quarter Mile in 1948 (Ladies Mile started in 1987) whilst Neethling won the Mile at the age of 16 in 1994.

Local 18 year old defending champions Ian Venter and Amica de Jager are in top form and keen to cross the line first again. Venter who swims for Aquabear Swimming Club in Port Elizabeth recently won the Nelson Mandela Bay Aquatics (NMBA) 5km and 3km Openwater Championship events and continues to dominate the aQuellé Ocean Racing Series 1km ocean swim and has demonstrated that he will be hard to beat this year.

National lifesaving champion and recent NMBA 10km and 3km Champion, De Jager, who swims under legendary swimmmer Haydn Holmes at Liquid Lines in Cape St Francis is currently in a class of her own in open water swimming in the Eastern Cape.

Whilst swum over a distance of 1,6km the River Mile takes place during the peak of the incoming tide resulting in a very fast swim which often favours some of the top pool swimmers.

The River Mile offers a fantastic day out for the whole family with not only swimming events to entertain. The grounds of the Cannonville slipway are transformed into a festival area with loads of food vendors, crafters and displays to complement a Castle Free Beer Garden, Cerebos Chill Zone and the Wimpy Rotary Kids Zone, a magnificent inflatable play area for children under 12 under the watchful eye of Rotary and Rotaract members.

The 94th River Mile is supported by the Municipality of Nelson Mandela Bay and is fueled by Caltex Eastern Cape with around 100 children from disadvantaged communities being afforded the opportunity to take part in this prestige sporting event.

Entry fee to the festival area on Sunday will be just R20 for non-participants. Online registration for the events is highly recommended to avoid the late entry fee charged on the day.

All participants are also required to purchase a R30 mobii timing chip for the events. Group discounts and package discounts for participants keen to do more than one event on the day are available online only.

  • For further information see or contact Zsports on 041 484 7860.

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