Cape Town swimmer completes 100th Robben Island crossing

Thirty-five years after completing his first crossing from Cape Town to Robben Island, the feat of finally finishing his 100th journey is a memory he will always treasure, swimmer Theodore Yach said on Tuesday.

After entering 13-degree waters, the 58-year-old took on the 10.4km route shortly before 08:00 from Three Anchor Bay.

Faced with a strong current and icy surf, he completed the crossing in three hours and 10 minutes.

“I felt relieved when I finished,” he told News24 once he had warmed up with a shower, cup of tea and a sandwich.

“It was a tough route, but seeing my wife and sons waiting for me made me very happy.”

Yach, who trains five days a week – swimming 22km and doing a day of weight training – said he remembered his maiden voyage to the landmark very well.

Among his boat crew in 1981 was then-president of the Cape Long Distance Swimming Association, Peter Bales, who fulfilled the same duty on Tuesday.

Learn to swim lessons and swim training for all ages. Heated indoor pool in Jeffreys Bay. Email: brenton@jbaynews.com
Learn to swim lessons and swim training for all ages. Heated indoor pool in Jeffreys Bay. Email: [email protected]

Yach said his latest swim was the culmination of a 35-year goal.

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“With every stroke, I told myself to keep my head under water.” This was to keep him motivated by not focussing on how far it was to land, he explained.

“About 75% [of the feat] is focusing on the mental aspect. I don’t wear a wetsuit. I do this in a Speedo, so beating the cold is critical.”

Yach’s 100th crossing means he is now recognised in the international open-water swimming hall of fame.

Six other swimmers – Toni Enderli, Kieron Palframan, Ryan Stramrood, Mark De Klerk, Buff van Westenbrugge and Dean Noik – also took part in Tuesday’s swim.

Funds were raised through the swim for six charities: the Children’s Hospital Trust, Paper Video, NSRI Waterwise Project, Wynberg Boys’ School’s Aquatic Centre, Highlands House and the Herzlia Foundation Trust.

Donations can still be made via www.centurycrossing.co.za.

News 24

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