Fourteen swimmers completed one of the most extreme open water swimming challenges in South African waters earlier this month, in support of the Little Fighters Cancer Trust, a local charity that offers support to children with cancer and their families.
The Swim For Hope group successfully swam the 8 km rounding of Cape Point, widely regarded as one of the most extreme open water swims in the world, while both the male and female records for the route were broken.
The swim was carried out in accordance with open water and English Channel swimming rules: only a single swimsuit (no wetsuit), cap and goggles may be worn, and swimmers have to start and end on land without ever making physical contact with any members of the support crew or the boat.
Anthony Pearse was the first swimmer to finish in a time of 1 hour 41 minutes, taking 21 minutes of the previous record that was jointly held by himself and UK swimmer Ned Denison.
Carina Bruwer shaved 2 minutes off her 2004 female record time, finishing in a time of 2 hours 18 minutes.
Carina Bruwer (34), who leads the multiple award-winning instrumental pop group Sterling EQ and holds records for numerous swims including the English Channel (fastest SA woman), Gibraltar Straits (fastest woman), False Bay (fastest SA woman) and many more, was joined by 12 men and 2 women aged between 24 and 61, all of whom have significant open water swimming experience.
Collectively Capetonians, Justin Coetzee (44), Keith Struthers (55), Toni Enderli (36), Monika Hayes (50), Lindsay de Kock (55), Anthony Pearse (44), Martin Vleggaar (36), Neil Hopkins (32), Chris Westcott (33), Charl Cilliers (45), Clinton Le Sueur (40) and Rouen Smit (24) share dozens of successful Robben Island crossings plus a few records.
Johannesburg swimmers Colin Gluch (46) and Richard Child (61) have also braved the Cape waters for a number of crossings, and Richard also has an English Channel crossing to his name.
The Cape Point swim
As opposed to the Robben Island and even the English Channel swimming crossings, which have been conquered by thousands of swimmers to date, only some two dozen swimmers have successfully completed the 8 km rounding of Cape Point (also known as ‘Cape of Storms’) since the first rounding by world-renowned American swimmer Lynne Cox, in 1979.
Factors contributing to this relatively low number include the great white shark population and other dangerous sea life in the area, cold and rough seas around the point, dangerous waves off Diaz Beach, and the general inaccessibility of the terrain.
Over R 100 000 was raised for the Little Fighters Cancer Trust through the swim.