The Kouga festive season programme ended on a high note with over 200 swimmers taking to the canals of Marina Martinique on 30 December for the annual HighTech Gregfor PE Marina Mile.
Warm water and sunny skies greeted the participants at Marina Martinique, regarded as the open water swim capital of South Africa.
Marina Martinique has hosted the South African Open Water Swim Championships since 2017 and has seen a number of Olympians such as Michelle Weber, Chad Ho, Troy Prinsloo, Natalie du Toit, Jessica Roux and Marthina Grimaldi compete and train in the canals over the past 10 years.
The Double Mile was the first event in the water and a lead group formed almost immediately with both the top male as well as the top female swimmers jostling for position throughout the race.
Reino Von Wielligh (36:30) eventually managed to squeeze out Rossouw Venter (36:37) to win the men’s race with Kyle White finishing third.
In the women’s race, Catherine Van Rensburg (36:43) managed to outsprint Amica De Jager (36:97) to claim gold while Christin Mundell came third.
The Half Mile was the next event to take to the salt water canals of Marina Martinique and the top three men were: Connor Barnardo, Connor Jay and JC Oostuizen. The top three women finishers were: Cailin Rademakers, Kerri-Lee Barnard and Kate Tinley.
The Half Mile is an event that encourages participation in the Marina Mile open water swim festival and former Springbok rugby player Ollie le Roux entered the event and swam it with his daughter Lisa, who was tackling the distance for the very first time.
The bank-to- bank swim always sees a lot of interest and encouragement from spectators, who were sadly limited this year due to Covid regulations but that did not deter the little swimmers from giving their all in the swim.
Jeffreys Bay swimmer Mia Jordaan won the 10 and under category for girls, with Ani Swarts winning the 7-8 yrs category. Lisa Van Heerden had to dig deep to win the 6 and under division.
The Boys 10 and under was a tightly contested race and turned out to be an open water sprint with Waldo Fritz winning, followed closely by Niel Coetzee and local swimmer Rio Jacobs.
Jeffreys Bay swimmer Koda Jacobs swam strongly to win the 7-8 yrs category, while Luke Pappas won the 6 and under division.
“This was my second bank-to -bank swim and we had done some training sessions in the Marina so I knew that I had to swim hard if I wanted to win the race,” said Koda, who trains with Brenton’s Swim School.
The premier event of the morning – the Marina Mile – was the last event to take place with a slight wind picking up which did not deter the swimmers.
Reino Von Wielligh did the double this year when he took the honours in the Mile after winning the Double Mile earlier in the day.
His winning time of 18:02 was fast enough to edge out Rossouw Venter (18:20) and Christian Davidson (18:23).
In the women’s Mile, defending title holder Amica de Jager won the race in a time of 18:58 from Catherine Van Rensburg (19:04) with Christin Mundell coming third (19:09).
“I love the Marina Mile and its definitely one of my favourite events,” said de Jager after her victory.
“Marina Martinique is the best open water swim venue in South Africa,” added de Jager who is based in St Francis Bay.
The 2021 Marina Mile was sponsored by HighTech Gregfor PE and supported by Aquelle, Nicholas Melck and Zbrands.
“The Mile takes place on 30 December every year and it was the best supported open water swim event in 2021. Covid regulations made running events difficult during the year and we are very happy we could end the Jeffreys Bay holiday season on a high note with a well supported Marina Mile,” said Mike Zoetmulder, the organizer of the Mile.