J'Bay swimmer wins winter ocean race

Up and coming open water swimmer Rebecca Baard completed her first ever ocean swim in Port Elizabeth on Sunday. The 1 K swim was part of the Ocean Racing Series and was held at Hobie Beach.

The start of the 1 K race in Port Elizabeth

Rebecca, who is only 11 years old, won the U/13 category and was the 4th woman home overall, which is a fine achievement for a young girl who swam her first ever ocean race.
“I was very nervous before the race as I haven’t swum out so far in the ocean before”, said Rebecca. “When I started swimming I battled with my breathing but managed to settle down and then I really enjoyed the swim”.
Rebecca trains with the Kouga Swim Club and has been swimming regularly in Marina Martinique. “The winter has been tough as we have to swim in the dark otherwise there isn’t enough time to swim and get ready for school”, said Rebecca.
Natalie du Toit and Rebecca Baard after a cold training swim at Marina Martinique

Her hero is Natalie du Toit and Rebecca is also aiming to be an Olympic open water swimmer when she is older. du Toit spent time with the Jeffreys Bay swimmers when she was in town for the South African Open Water Swim Champs  and certainly left her mark on the next generation of extreme swimmers.

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