World class swimming returns to Jeffreys Bay this weekend with the South African Open Water Swim Champs taking place at Marina Martinique from 7 – 8 March.
With the Olympic Games scheduled for July, there is everything to swim for as the top swimmers in South Africa gather to compete in the 10 km, 7.5 km, 5 km and 3 km events at the Marina, regarded as one of the best open water swim venues in the world.
With the protected salt water canals presenting the opportunity to swim fast times and residents cheering them from their houses, the Marina has become a firm favourite of swimmers from all over the world.
Leading the charge this weekend will be Olympian Chad Ho who has the fastest qualifying time going into the 10 km event.
This event is the official Olympic distance and the winner will in all likelihood be chosen to represent South Africa in Japan in a few months time.
Ho’s time of 1.49:37 is world class and he will be chased by Danie Marais who has a qualifying time of 1.50:14.
“SA Champs this year will be one of the most competitive as there are a lot on the line both for seniors and juniors.
The seniors are all fighting for the spots to head to the Olympic qualifier later this year where only two male and two female swimmers will be selected.”
As for the juniors they are also fighting for spots to in their respective age groups to compete at junior open water world championships this year which varies in the different distances,”said Olympian Chad Ho.
I’ve been racing at the Marina Martinique for a couple of years now and it’s a fantastic venue to swim at. It’s set up allows for great viewing for the spectators during the race as they can see the entire course and being sea water makes for some fast times”,”added Ho.
Fellow Olympian Michelle Weber, who won the 5 km event at the 2019 Open Water Swim Champs at Marina Martinique, has the fastest qualifying time for the Womens 10 km event (1.56:25). Weber’s primary threats will come from Robyn Kinghorn and St Francis Bay local Amika de Jager.
De Jager, a former winner of the Marina Mile will be a crowd favourite and will be determined to swim well in front of her home crowd.
The action starts on Saturday morning at 9 am when the gruelling 10 km event takes to the water, while the 5 km event will start at 9 am on Sunday morning.
The SA Champs are open to the public and the local community is urged to come and support the best swimmers in South Africa as they attempt to win their races and qualify for the Olympic Games.
For those not able to make it to Marina Martinique, the event, supported by Kouga Municipality, will be live streamed via Face Book