First Easter Swim a ‘Hopping’ Success

The action-packed Kouga Easter Festival for 2022 saw close to 50 swimmers take to the canals of Marina Martinique in Jeffreys Bay on April 17 for the inaugural Easter Swim.

“Rated as South Africa’s premier open water swimming venue, Marina Martinique is a perfect open water swim venue due to the protected and pollution free saltwater canals,” said Kouga Executive Mayor, Horatio Hendricks.

“Making the event even more special, is that it catered for swimmers of all fitness and skill levels.”

Greeted by cold water and cloudy skies – and scattered raindrops – the 400m dash was the first event to take to the water.

This event is aimed at entry level open water swimmers, as well as those wanting to sprint the distance to see how fast they can swim and was dominated by Jeffreys Bay based swimmers.

Jeffreys Bay swimmer Bleyten Smit won a tightly contested 400 m dash with another JBay swimmer Cameron Campbell coming second from Shane Hamilton coming third.

Kadin Walter had a good swim to finish 4th and Ryan Steyn finished strongly in 5 th position.

In the women’s 400 m, Shaela Hamilton came first, with Jeffreys Bay swimmers Abigayle Butler coming second and Clara Gerber third.

“The water was cold and I didn’t swim in a wetsuit but I enjoyed the swim,” said Cameron Campbell after the event. “Next time I wont go surfing before the race so I will have more energy to swim faster,” added Campbell.

Cameron Campbell stoked after his swim. Photo: JBay Swim


The Half Mile was the next event to take to the saltwater canals and the top three men were Ares Sakelliou, Hendro De Beer and Carl Andrews.

The top three women to cross the finish line were Emma Puffett, Milla Delport and Gabi Grobbelaar.

There was plenty of excitement and nerves for the Bank-to-Bank which is an introductory swim for 10yrs and under swimmers.

The cold conditions did little to deter Mia Jordaan from powering to victory in 9-10 age group with Mienke Kok coming second from Zane Van Aswegen. Erin Campbell did well in her first swim to finish 4th.

Mia Jordaan swimming to victory at Marina Martinique. Photo: JBay Swim


“This was my last bank-to-bank swim as I will be 11 years old in December and will move up to the 400 m swim and I am so happy that I won,” said Mia Jordaan after her victory.

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Rio Jacobs came first in the 9-10 boys category, while his younger brother Koda came first in the 7-8 category.

Reece Jordaan in her first open water swim with her coach Brenton Williams


Reese Jordaan won the girls 7-8 yrs category in her first ever open water swim.

“The water was cold but I wanted to defend my title that I won in the bank-to bank- swim at the Marina Mile,” said Koda Jabobs.

Koda Jacobs gave his all to defend his title. Photo: Ernst Ohlhoff


“It was a tough swim as I have been practicing more rugby lately and am vice captain of my team so I had to swim very fast at the end of the bank-to- bank to make sure I won,” added Jacobs.

The premier event of the morning – the Easter Mile – was the last event to take place.

Ares Sakelliou did the double when he crossed the finish line first, after having won the half mile earlier in the day.

Madeleen Van Zuydam won the women’s category.

Hendricks has welcomed the event and said it was a positive sign for tourism in Jeffreys Bay and the wider Kouga region.

The Easter Swim was hosted by Kouga Municipality and supported by Nicholas Melck.


Rio Jacobs from Jeffreys Bay powered to victory in the Bank-to-Bank swim.

Photos: Ernst Ohlhoff

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