Just over 500 swimmers took to the water in Sundays River last weekend for the annual River Mile.
St Francis Bay swimmer Amika de Jager swam a great race to take the silver medal in the women’s mile, finishing a mere 3 seconds behind winner Hannah Haswell.
Maria Holmes from Cape St Francis won her age group and 229 swimmers finished the women’s Mile this year.
Up and coming Jeffreys Bay swimmer Seth de Swart (15 yrs) had a great race to claim 10th position overall in the highly competitive Men’s Mile, won by Daniel Jones.
Mally Richards (82 yrs), also from Jeffreys Bay, extended his run of River Miles to 62, a record that will be very difficult to beat.
The eyes of the swimming world will now turn to the Bell Buoy Challenge, which takes place on Saturday from Pollock Beach in Algoa Bay.
Swimmers will have to negotiate the unpredictable shore break at Pollock Beach before heading 2.5 km out to sea, swim around the Bell Buoy and then head back towards land.
Jeffreys Bay swimmers Brenton Williams and JC Van Wyk are both confirmed entries for the swim while St Francis Bay swimmers Haydn Holmes and Kendal Wright have also entered.
Williams is one of the elite swimmers who has swam every Bell Bouy Challenge, since the race was introduced in 2010. He has also been the only swimmer to use the butterfly stroke when swimming the Bell Buoy.
The other legends of the Bell Bouy are Richden Jute, Ralph West, Maria Stott, Stanfort Slabbert and Andre Kleinhans.
“The Bell Buoy is a great swim and always presents some kind of challenge for the swimmers,” said Williams.
“Last year there was a strong current going out towards the Bell Buoy and it took half an hour to get there and then 1 ½ hours to get back to the beach!”
On Sunday swimmers will once again congregate at Marina Martinique for round two of the Metsi EP Open Water Swimming Champs, with the 5 km swim being the official championship event.
There will also be the 3 km, 1 km, 500m and bank to bank swims on offer. The event is sponsored by Metsi Water Solutions.
Swimmers can enter online at www.swimmingplus.com
The JBay swimmers train every Tuesday and Thursday evening at 5:45 pm at the Marina. Swimmers can email [email protected] for more information.
Paddlers are also welcome to join in.