World class swimming action took place in Jeffreys Bay on Sunday and the couple of hundred spectators who braved the winter like conditions witnessed some of the best marathon swimming ever seen in South Africa.
Martina Grimaldi, the Olympic swimmer from Italy got right down to business in the 10 Km event and stamped her authority down from the start, showing why she is rated as one of the top contenders for Olympic honours at London 2012.
Martina, swimming with a slight shoulder injury, swam a consistent pace throughout and won the 10 Km in a time of 1 hour 56 minutes with the Steers Marina Mile queen, Jessica Roux coming second in 2 hours 3 minutes.
Fabio Cuzzani, the Italian Olympic open water coach said he was happy with Grimaldi’s performance. “Martina swum consistently and the perfect conditions at Marina Martinique meant that a good time was always on the cards”.
Natalie du Toit, who was suffering from a cold, decided to swim the 5 Km event and won in a time of 1 hour 1 minutes, with up and coming Port Elizabeth swimmer Wayne Jones coming second.
“I love racing at Marina Martinique and having the spectators on the bank so close to the swimmers adds to the occasion”, said Natalie.
Local swimmer JC van Wyk won the 5 Km in his age group and then went on to win the 1 Km overall. Ralph West won his age group in the 5 K and did the double by winning his age group again in the 1 K.
Gitta Seyfert won her age group in the 1 K event as well. Caro de Jager and Seth de Swart both won silver in the 3 K event.
Local swim coach Brenton Williams became the first man ever to finish the 1 K event swimming only butterfly. Last weekend in Johannesburg he became the first swimmer to complete the Lions mile also swimming only butterfly.
“The sport of open water swimming has only really begun in South Africa and there are no boundaries”, said Brenton. “It is really about achieving what was previously thought impossible and we have South Africans who have become the first to swim around the tip of South America, there is Lewis Pugh who has swum in -1.7 degree water at the North Pole and we have Natalie du Toit who became the first disabled swimmer to compete in the Olympic Games”.
The next event at Marina Martinique will be the ever popular Steers Marina Mile and the event has now grown into a two day event with the Steers Mile and double Mile taking place on 30 December.
The gruelling 25 K swim will take place on the 31 December with a 15 K event being added for the first time ever in South Africa, together with a 10 K event.
More pictures of the swim can be found at www.jbaysurfcam.com