SA Open Water Swim Champs returns to Jeffreys Bay

Port Elizabeth swimmer Ian Venter is quietly confident of good results when he competes at the SA Open Water Swimming championships in Jeffreys Bay next month.

With little more than a week to go before the start of the championships, Venter feels he is in good shape.

Venter, who will compete in the 3km and 5km distances, said there was not much of a mindset shift for him between open water and indoor swimming.

“We have raced this course quite a lot, so we know what to expect, and knowing the course makes racing a lot easier,” he said.

Asked what his aims were, he said: “I just want to go out there and see what I can do. I am not putting too much pressure on myself for that.”

Another swimmer to watch out for will be Amica de Jager.

Coming off the back of her win at the River Mile at the weekend, De Jager, 18, of St Francis Bay, will be a force to be reckoned with at the championships.

She does indoor and open water swimming as well as lifesaving, and said open water swimming was her favourite.

Swimming in the 5km and 10km distances, De Jager hopes to improve on her performance at last year’s championships, when she was in the top six at both events.

“I would be very happy to just have a good race and have decent finishing positions at the end of the day.”

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She said the competition would be tough, with swimmers from various provinces with potential for gold.

The championships, on March 3 and 4, return to Jeffreys Bay’s Marina Martinique for the second year running and will see teams from across the country, as well as five international athletes, vying for the national open water crown.

Marina Martinique is regarded as one of the top open water swim venues in the world and has hosted a number of Olympic swimmers over the years.

The SA Open Water Swim Champs were first held in Jeffreys Bay in 2011 and the venue has become a firm favourite with open water swimmers from all around South Africa.

“Marina Martinique is a great place to race as the winding canals become quite technical and you have to really focus to swim good lines,” said South Africa’s 10 km swim champion Chad Ho.

Ho will be defending his title at Marina Martinique next weekend.

Provincial open water coordinator Thian de Jager said the event would see some of the country’s top open water swimmers competing for top honours across three distances – 10km, 5km and 3km.

De Jager said the leading swimmers in the 38-member Nelson Mandela Bay aquatics team stood a good chance of finishing with positive results.

He said quite a few swimmers from Cape Town had been travelling to compete in Jeffreys Bay due to the drought in the Western Cape.

De Jager said the 10km event would also be a qualifying event from which swimmers would be selected for the South African team travelling to the World Youth Open Water Championships in Israel later this year.

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