Wet and chilly conditions did little to deter open water swimmers from all over South Africa who descended upon Jeffreys Bay for the annual Marina Mile on Sunday.
While the weather on land was unpleasant, the water was a balmy 24 C and this helped the swimmers once they took to the salt water canals of Marina Martinique for one of the bucket list events on the open water swim calendar.
The Double Mile got the action underway and veteran swimmer PJ Duffy used all his experience to claim his maiden victory in the event.
Duffy is a previous winner of the Bell Buoy Challenge as well as the tough Shipwreck swim in Cape Town.
Eben Haarhof took the silver medal, with Jeffreys Bay swimmer Ferdinand du Bruyn claiming the bronze.
“It was a great swim and the new route that the organisers laid out was lots of fun,” said Duffy after his victory.
Amy Mardon comfortably won the women’s Double Mile from Denise Bosman and Angela Finlay.
The 500 m event was up next and this was won by Ettiene Jordaan with local swimmer Danre Du Preez coming second and Wietske Van Der Westhuizen coming third.
Elze Cilliers won the women’s race with Jordan Cole coming second and 8 year old Megan Hough claiming the bronze medal.
Other noteworthy swims came from Abriella Bredell (9 yrs) as well as Ruan Du Preez (8 yrs).
Next up was the bank to bank, a 40 m swim aimed at U/10 swimmers who are new to open water.
No less than 17 youngsters took up the challenge, many of them for the first time and the organisers of the Marina Mile rewarded all the swimmers with prizes.
“The bank to bank is all about participation and we want to encourage youngsters to take up the challenge and complete their swim, which all of them did, even if there were a lot of nerves prior to the swim,” said organiser Brenton Williams.
Saverne Abdinor, Kobus Strydom, Tiani Strydom, Issataya Bredell, Casper Strydom, Noah Joubert and Christine Strydom all had good swims.
The flagship event, the Marina Mile was the final event of the day and a tough battle developed between Creedence Pattinson and Jeffreys Bay swimmer Seth de Swart with Pattinson eventually claiming the victory in 22:38 with de Swart a few seconds behind in 22:41.
Tarryn Els claimed here first Marina Mile title, with Tracy Gous second and Antonelle Saporta in third position.
Woodlands Dairy and iSport isotonic sports drinks ensured all the swimmers remained well hydrated after the events with the winners of the Marina Mile walking away wearing their new Oakley sunglasses.
The next swim event is the Marina Marathon swim, which takes place on 17 January.
There is a unique format to the event, with swimmers having the option of taking on a 14 km swim, or lesser distances of 10.5 km, 7 km or 3.5 km.
Entries will open shortly on www.swimmingplus.com