Open water swimmers have to be prepared to swim in any conditions that could include strong currents, wind chop or cold water. However, near perfect conditions greeted participants in the Weekend Post Ocean Racing Series this past weekend.

The Series takes place at Hobie beach in Port Elizabeth and is in its 6th season, proving the growing popularity of the sport of ocean swimming in South Africa.

Four swimmers from the Kouga Swim Club went through to compete in the 1 km and the 3 km swims and reported that conditions were great for the event.

“There was very little surface chop and hardly any currents which made for some fast swimming”, said Brenton Williams, coach of the Kouga Swim Club.

Mark Paarman had a strong swim to come 3rd in his age group in the 1 Km swim, while Cheryl Dickson-Gibbs also swam to a third place in the 1 Km in her age group.

Sally Waterworth overcame her initial misgivings to complete her first ever ocean swim. “It was the first time that I have been beyond chest deep water in the ocean, so I was really nervous before the start as we had to swim directly out to sea for about 500m before turning around the first buoy”, said Sally.

“Training in the Marina Martinique certainly helped me overcome my nerves and I managed to settle down and enjoy the swim after I got going”.

Brenton Williams came 3rd in his age group in the 3 Km swim, as part of his training for the Bell Buoy challenge which takes place on 23rd April in Port Elizabeth. This swim entails a gruelling 3.5 km swim directly out to sea to round the Bell Buoy reef and then back to shore.

“The Bell Buoy will be the final preparation for the Robben Island crossing that takes place on 7 May and it will be good to experience open ocean conditions beforehand”, said Brenton. “I am hoping for relatively cold water during the swim as the water temperature has been known to drop as low as 8 degrees during Robben Island crossing”.

The Bell Buoy Reef off Hobie Beach in Port Elizabeth will test swimmers in April.

JC van Wyk will be the third Jeffreys Bay swimmer who will be hoping to tackle the Robben Island swim and will be attempting the qualifying swim on 21 March in Cape Town.

The Jeffreys Bay ocean swimmers will do a sea swim at 6.30 am on Saturday morning, conditions permitting. They will be meeting at 11 Plane Street. Further information about the swim or training swims in Marina Martinique can be obtained by emailing kougaswim@vodamail.co.za

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