Fifteen swimmers from all walks of life go on standby on the 1st of March for one of the most extreme open water swimming challenges in South African waters, in support of the Little Fighters Cancer Trust, a local charity that offers support to children with cancer and their families. The group will attempt the 8km rounding of Cape Point, stretching from Diaz Beach on the western side of Cape Point with its notoriously turbulent waters, to Buffels Bay on the Eastern side, taking swimmers through the point where the two oceans (Atlantic and Indian) meet.
The “2014 Swim For Hope” follows on celebrated South African musician and record-holding marathon swimmer Carina Bruwer’s dramatic solo rounding of Cape Point in April last year, her first open water swim since starting a family in 2007, which saw her battle extreme conditions and left her with severe hypothermia after finishing just 16 minutes shy of her record set in 2004. Having raised R17,500 for the Little Fighters Cancer Trust last year, Carina announced that Swim For Hope will return in the form of an invitational group swim this year, with fourteen experienced open water swimmers joining her on the “most spectacular open water swimming experiences in the world”. She says: “I’m looking forward to sharing this very special open water experience with fellow swimmers, while swimming as a group as opposed to a soloist will undoubtedly result in an even more significant fundraising effort. We have already raised over R30,000 for Little Fighters since launching 2014’s event and I’m optimistic about exceeding our goal of R100,000!”
All moneys raised will go towards the Little Fighters Cancer Trust’s BAG OF HOPE Project. A bag of hope provides essentials for both the Child with Cancer and his/her mother or bedside care-giver, with items such as toiletries, pyjamas, non-perishable food, educational toys, blankets and sanitary products, making a challenging and prolonged hospital stay just a bit more comfortable. LFCT is operational in 11 main paediatric oncology treatment centres throughout South Africa, including the Western Cape, Gauteng, Kwazulu Natal, Eastern Cape and Free State.
Carina Bruwer (34), who leads the multiple award-winning instrumental pop group Sterling EQ and holds records for numerous swims including the English Channel (fastest SA woman), Gibraltar Straits (fastest woman), False Bay (fastest SA woman) and many more, is joined by 12 men and 2 women aged between 24 and 61, all of whom have significant open water swimming experience. Collectively Capetonians Justin Coetzee (44), Keith Struthers (55), Monika Hayes (50), Lindsay de Kock (55), Anthony Pearse (44), Martin Vleggaar (36), Neil Hopkins (32), Chris Wescott (33), Charl Cilliers (45), Clinton Le Sueur (40) and Rouen Smit (24) share dozens of successful Robben Island crossings plus a few records, while Johannesburg swimmers Colin Gloch (46) and Richard Child (61) have also braved the Cape waters for a number of crossings, while Richard also has an English Channel crossing to his name.
The Cape Point swim
As opposed to the Robben Island and even the English Channel swimming crossings which have been conquered by thousands of swimmers to date, only 11 swimmers have successfully completed the 8km rounding of Cape Point (also known as “Cape of Storms”) since the first rounding by world-renowned American swimmer Lynne Cox in 1979. Factors contributing to this relatively low number include the great white shark population and other dangerous sea life in the area, cold and rough seas around the point, dangerous waves off Diaz beach, and the general inaccessibility of the terrain.
Swim For Hope 2014
The Cape Long Distance Swimming Association will officiate over the swim, which is to be done in accordance with international open water swimming rules: Only a single swimsuit (no wetsuit), cap and goggles may be worn, and swimmers have to start and end on land without ever making physical contact with any members of the support crew or the boat. Swimmers will be supported and guided by support boats equipped with Shark Shields (an electronic shark repellent device), while volunteer shark spotters will be in position on the cliffs above the swim route.
The swimmers will be on standby to swim from 1 March, and the swim will be called when conditions are most favourable. The waiting period can be anything from a few days to weeks; regular updates will follow. Members of the public, as well as corporates are invited to follow Swim For Hope’s social media interfaces (Facebook and Twitter) for live updates from the water on the day of the swim and are encouraged to sponsor and donate, using the “BackaBuddy” website (www.backabuddy.co.za). Corporate sponsors can also contact Little Fighters Cancer Trust directly on 073 729 6155 or firstname.lastname@example.org for organizational information such as taxation and BEE benefits, as the organization is a registered NPO with PBO status.
Swim for Hope: www.facebook.com/lfctswimforhope / www.twitter.com/lfctswimforhope
Little Fighters Cancer Trust: http:/www.facebook.com/Little.Fighters / www.twitter.com/LFCancerTrust
Carina Bruwer: www.facebook.com/carinabruwerofficial / www.facebook.com/sterlingeqofficial
Contributions from the public will be administered on: