The two South Africans who represented South Africa at the 2016 Olympic Games will be at Marina Martinique this weekend to compete in the South African Open Water Swim Champs.
The 10 km swim will take place on Saturday morning at 9 am and spectators are welcome to come and watch the best open water swimmers in South Africa race in the Marina, a venue that is regarded as world class.
Chad Ho first represented South Africa at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games is the current world 5 km champion and will be hard to beat in the 10 km swim in the men’s division.
In the women’s race all eyes will be on 20 year old Michelle Weber who will be defending her South African title and will be determined to win the 10 km swim and be selected to represent South Africa at the World Swimming Champs in Budapest last this year.
JBay News caught up with Michelle:
How old were you when you started to swim in open water?
I did my first open water swim at 11 so 9 years ago.
The first time I did an open water swim I was very scared when I got in the water to race because it was very dark and I wasn’t expecting it but after 400m I got used to it and just enjoyed the race.
Do you have brothers and sisters?
I have two sisters one older – 23, one younger – 19. And a younger brother – 17.
Why do you enjoy swimming in open water?
I love doing open water events because it gets very challenging (especially the longer distances) and I love a challenge.
It’s also so much fun as open water swimming are like family days where we race and then have a braai and perhaps catch a tan as well.
Is open water better than pool swimming?
I enjoy it more than pool swimming because I just feel way more relaxed and in my element when in open water.
What was the best thing about representing South Africa at the Olympic Games?
The best thing about competing at the Olympics was seeing my childhood dream come true and living and competing amongst athlete who also achieved that same dream and share the same passion as you.
What are your goals?
My goal for open water swimming is to give everything I can possible give over the next four years and try and achieve world medallist status at the World Champs and Olympic Games.
Why should younger girls (and boys) give open water a try?
There are a lot of girls who already do compete in open water but I would encourage any swimmer to try it out because I was never going to even try open water swimming and I put it off for years and then one year I did one race for fun and I won.
So it could be your talent but otherwise it’s great to get out the city with your family, swim in awesome locations, have a braai and enjoy the outdoors.
What are your favourite open water swim venues?
My favourite open water venues in South Africa are the Elgin Dam in Grabouw, Western Cape and Marina Martinique in Jeffrey’s Bay.
I love racing in Marina Martinique because it’s in an estate with beautiful houses around the sides of the canal.
It’s great to have spectators sitting at their homes and watching the races and supporting us.
There’s also a cute restaurant called the Marina Wharf on the water’s edge right by the start of the race so it’s a very comfortable venue for spectators to watch.
In the featured photo Michelle is with two local open water swimmers Issataya (8 yrs) and Abriella Bredell (10 yrs).