After a two week layoff, 244 open water swimmers took to the water in perfect conditions at Hobie Beach in Port Elizabeth on Sunday. 21 degree water and calm conditions saw some of the fastest times ever swum in the Axxess DSL Ocean Racing Series.
Mike Zoetmulder, the race organizer said that over the past five years since the Series started, there have been a few special days and Sunday was certainly up there with the best. “The conditions were tailor made for swimming with perfect visibility, sunshine and no wind”, said Zoetmulder. “The times swimmers recorded were around ten minutes faster than usual, which shows just how good the conditions were”.
Veteran open water swimmer Russell Tucker, who is leading the rankings in the men’s O/50 category concurred with Zoetmulder and said that he has rarely seen such pristine conditions in Algoa Bay. “It was so good that a small group of us even went and swam another 2 K straight after the race’, said Tucker.
Frank Greeff won the 3 K swim from Michael Marais, who recently won the 10 K swim at the EP Champs in Jeffreys Bay. Rising open water swim sensation Wayne Jones came 3rd. Open water swim queen Jessica Roux remained unbeaten in the women’s division beating Rebecca Newman into 2nd position. Richden Jute had an impressive swim in the masters division.
Chris van Der Sande won the 1 K event from Andrew Fischer while Carmel Billson beat her sister Lauren in the women’s section. Ralph West continued on his winning way in the men’s O/40 division.
Full results can be found on here
Local swimmers have been hard at training at Marina Martinique with the adult group showing strong growth this summer. According to Brenton Williams the coach of the Kouga Swim Club the morning training sessions have attracted new swimmers as well as drawing some old competitive swimmers back into the sport. “The challenges that open water swimmers face are totally different to that of a pool and the master’s swimmers seem to enjoy this aspect”, said Williams.
“The Friday afternoon sessions have become so popular that the adult swimmers will now be training at 4.30 PM as we now need two groups to cater for the numbers”. These training sessions are only open for Club swimmers.
South African Olympic open water swimmer Chad Ho continued on the winning path in South America when he claimed his second silver medal in two races in the FINA 10 K World Cup. Ho said afterwards that he felt good throughout the race and was very happy with his results in the World Cup.
Ho then flew back to South Africa in time to win the Midmar Mile in Kwazulu/Natal. Chad will be in action at the Redhouse River Mile which will be held at Sundays River just outside Port Elizabeth on 28 February. Full results of the Midmar Mile can be found here