Local and international swimmers will gather in Jeffreys Bay this weekend (3rd & 4th March) for the 2018 South African National Open Water Swimming Championships, which has seen a significant increase in entries over previous years.
The picturesque Marina Martinique is renowned for fast times given the high salt content in the water, as well as often pristine conditions and the 2018 edition of these championships is sure to see some scintillating racing taking place.
With no less than 331 entries for the 2018 Championships, this number far surpasses the 213 entries that contested the 2017 edition.
An exciting addition to the championship program will see the 4 x 1.25km mixed relay being contested on Saturday afternoon on a Provincial basis.
A contingent of international visitors have entered with 2017 World Championships multi medalist, Brazilian Anna Marcela Cunha heading the list.
She will be joined by her training partner, Germanys’ Sarah Boslett while in the men’s events the Hungarian duo of Daniel Szekelyt and Peter Gailicz along with Namibian hopeful Phillip Seidler and Chad Michau representing The Netherlands are sure to add a touch of spice to proceedings.
All six international athletes will be contesting both the 5 km and 10 km races.
South African ace Chad Ho is taking a sabbatical due to the recent birth of his daughter and with 2017 FINA World Championships South African representatives Nico Mannousakis and Danie Marias not entered, the way is paved for a new South African champion to grace the podium in both the men’s 5km and 10km races.
With places in the Team South Africa squad that will travel to Israel for the 2018 FINA World Junior Open Water Swimming Championships in September up for grabs, some of South Africa’s rising open water stars are set to make their mark.
Here the likes of Marina Mile winner Hanre’ Louw, Andrew Ritchie, Dante Nortje, Eric le Roux, Aiden Peterson and Dylan Wright are sure to test their metal against the quality field.
In the woman’s 5km and 10km events Michelle Weber will be keen to make amends after her mishap disqualification in the 10km race of the 2017 edition and will go in as the local favorite to regain her titles in both races.
Weber has stuck a rich vein of form of late and produced a stellar performance against the USA’s 5km World Champion Ashley Twichell at the recent successful Midmar 5km International Invitational race.
That being said, 2017 FINA World Championship participants Robyn Kinghorn and Sasha Lee Nordengen-Corris are sure to take up the challenge while the exciting trio of Rebecca Meder, her sister Abigail and Carli Antonopoulos from the Western Cape along with St Francis Bay swimmer Amica de Jager are sure to be there or there about’s in the dash for the finish line.
The 10 km event starts at 9 am on Saturday, while the 5 km swims start at 9 am on Sunday.
Spectators are welcome to attend.