For the first time in the history of Jeffreys Bay, a national swimming championship will be held in the town.
The SA Open Water Swim Champs will take place at Marina Martinique on 17 and 18 April.
Locals will be able to watch World 10 K swim champ, Chad Ho compete as he starts his build up to the 2012 Olympic Games.
“I raced at Marina Martinique in 2007 when the Swim Challenge Series was still in existence and the canals are awesome”, said Chad. “I am looking at swimming a fast time in the salt water and protected canals.”
The SA Champs kick off with the 10 K marathon swim on Sunday morning at 9 am. The 3 K swim will take place at 1 pm the same afternoon.
Monday will see the 5 K event start at 9 am. All the swimming will take place from the La Caribe canal and residents will be able to access the Marina from the gate closest to the Aston Bay road.
Hosting the SA Champs in Jeffreys Bay will be a major boost for the town as over 100 swimmers from all over South Africa are expected to enter the event. Natalie Du Toit, who also represented South Africa in the 10 K swim at the Beijing Olympics, will also be in action.
Brenton Williams, the coach of the Jeffreys Bay swim club said that staging the SA Champs in Jeffreys Bay is worthy recognition that the Marina Martinique is a prime open water swim venue in South Africa.
“We resurrected the Marina Mile in 2002 and have received nothing but positive feedback about the venue from swimmers ever since.
“I would like to thank all the people who have helped over the years in establishing the Marina as a world class open water swim destination and hosting the SA Champs is certainly the cherry on top.”
The growth of open water swimming as a sport has been rapid and Jeffreys Bay is keeping pace with this worldwide trend.
“There will be winter training taking place in the canals and we are also looking at hosting a few cold water swims over the winter months” added Williams. “Cold water adds a whole new dimension to open water swimming and I am sure the Marina is going to gain a reputation as being a great training venue for swimmers who want to complete cold water swims”.
Central Gauteng Aquatics are the current South African champions after winning the SA Champs at the Midmar Dam last year. Eastern Province came second and will be looking at going all the way and winning the event with home ground advantage sure to be play a part.