Swimmers battle cold, wind and fog to round Cape Point
Fourteen open water swimmers took part in the 8.5km Swim for Hope around the notorious Cape Point on 13 April. The Cape Point rounding is regarded as a formidable open water challenge – the meeting of the Atlantic and Indian oceans has treacherous currents, cold water and sharks.
The swim was done in support of the Little Fighters Cancer Trust, a charity that offers support to children with cancer and their families.
Thick fog delayed the start of the swim but the swimmers got off to a good start, despite the cold water. Water temperatures didn’t rise above 13 degrees Celsius for the duration of the swim.
But beyond Cape Point conditions took a turn for the worse. As the strength of the wind increased so its direction changed, making sea conditions more difficult. Choppy waves thrust water into the faces of the swimmers, making it difficult to breathe. The notorious Cape Point currents constantly pulled at the swimmers. Then, rounding the Point, the swimmers were met with a thick bank of fog. To continue they had to rely on commands and guidance from the support boat skippers.
Despite the conditions, 13 of the 14 swimmers successfully completed the swim. Carina Bruwer, the event founder, succumbed to severe hypothermia after 1hr 45mins in the water. She completed 6km of the 8.5km route but was pulled from the water by her support crew. She was taken to shore and made a full recovery.
Anthony Pearse, who holds the Cape Point record of 1hr 41mins, finished in an impressive 1hr 46mins despite the adverse conditions. Brenton Williams completed the first ever butterfly rounding of Cape Point in 3hrs 33mins. Kendal Wright became the youngest open water swimmer to round Cape Point. Maura Sanderoff, a childhood cancer survivor who lost her left leg to cancer at age 16, finished in 4hrs 40mins.
Other finishers were Anthony Sellmeyer and Richard Child, both in 3hrs 35mins, Neil Ralphs in 2hrs 25mins, Clinton le Sueur and Charl Cilliers in 2hrs 36mins, Martin Vleggaar in 2hrs 48mins, Colin Gluch in 3hrs 12mins, Johan Wegner in 2hrs 40mins and Lindsay de Kock in 4hrs 53mins.
Swim For Hope: www.swimforhope.co.za
Little Fighters Cancer Trust: www.littlefighters.org.za