Bell Buoy Challenge looms

For whom the Bell tolls. This is the Buoy that the hard core swimmers will be looking for 2.5 km out to sea.
For whom the Bell tolls. This is the Buoy that the hard core swimmers will be looking for 2.5 km out to sea.

The 2013 Bell Buoy Challenge which takes place in Nelson Mandela Bay on the Saturday the 30th March has attracted a quality field and is shaping up to be one of the most keenly contested races in the  Challenge’s four year history.

The Bell Buoy Challenge has gained the reputation as being one of South Africa’s toughest open water swims and has grabbed the imagination of the growing South African open water swimming fraternity along with a number of international  athletes having taken up the challenge.

The event has, in the past three editions attracted athletes of the calibre of Australian Olympian and world championship medallist Melissa Gorman, Slovenian ace Kieran Rok, the legendary Bulgarian Petar Stoychov along with South African Olympian Troyden Prinsloo, all of whom have claimed line honours in the recent past.

“Despite having to downgrade the Bell Buoy swim from an international event to a low key national event without prize money, we are very pleased that just under 50 swimmers from around South Africa have secured their place on the start line for 2013” Race organiser Mike Zoetmulder from Zports said on Monday.

“For the majority this event has always been about the challenge of the 8km ocean swim and overcoming one’s fears as they swim around the nautical bell buoy some 2.5km off-shore.” Zoetmulder added

Here all eyes will be on will be on the promising Kendal Wright in the swimsuit category and Wayne Jones in the wetsuit category. Both have been in fine fettle this summer, with Jones being undefeated in the popular Ocean Racing Series which has evolved into on of the most popular open water swimming series in the country.

South Africa’s first athlete to complete the coveted “Triple Crown” of marathon swimming, Roger Finch will also line up on the day alongside the likes of open water stalwarts PJ Duffy, Richard Jute and Richard Willmore, while former South African pool champion Gary Albertyn can never be underestimated.

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“Why crawl when you can fly” Brenton Williams is set to complete yet another remarkable achievement when he will swim the entire event swimming butterfly.

In the ladies event Tammy Geyer has been impressive in the Ocean Racing Series and will certainly be the one to watch, while national tri-athlete representative Angela Ackermann can never be underestimated.

“Whilst the event is without sponsorship, we will not compromise on water safety and have insisted on a water safety ratio of at least 1 water safety personnel for every 3 swimmer out on the course. The traditional Penguin trophies have also been secured for the event and will be up for grabs by the various category winners.”  Zoetmulder concluded.

ZwemZa / Neville Smith

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