This post could have been titled “The Summer I Decided to Swim As Many Races As I Could.” I never intended that to happen at all, but as the summer rolled on and great event after great event landed on the table, I was able to enter them and I did. In the past I was always a little reserved about entering too many races… especially races back to back on the same weekend. It turns out that if you think of them as events, rather than races it requires a whole lot less nervous energy. I have managed to swim at loads of events, made so many friends in the swimming community and loved every second of it. More than that I have lost the pre-race nerves that plagued me in the past. I am there to swim and there to enjoy it, no matter where I place or whatever the weather.
I firmly believe in swimming for a cause, but this year I didn’t have one big event, instead, I had several events planned, and I decided to donate all my swims to the I Am Water Foundation, which is a local organisation that takes primary school children from around greater Cape Town, who haven’t had the privilege of spending lazy days at the beach, and they give them a three day immersive ocean experience.
The children learn all about the ocean environment, how to care for it, how to protect it and how to enjoy it. They explore the rocky shores, get to do a clean up, presentations on the wild life their will discover and snorkelling. Please help to support my GivenGain campaign and raise young Ocean Ambassadors with the I Am Water Foundation.
The I Am Water Ocean Foundation is an organisation based in Cape Town, that takes kids that live within greater Cape Town area and yet, they don’t have an opportunity to go to the beach. They provide workshops and a complete ocean experience to primary school children, where they can learn to love the ocean and become a future generation of ocean ambassadors.
You can make a donation to my Given Gain Campaign over here…
Please help to support my GivenGain campaign and raise young Ocean Ambassadors with the I Am Water Foundation.
Start with Cape Town Swim
If you are looking for guided ocean swims and a bi-weekly ocean training group, then look no further than Cape Town Swim. They usually swim from Clifton 4 beach, but also make use of the Camps Bay Tidal Pool or Sea Point Pool, if conditions require it. And they are starting to branch out into Big Bay and Simonstown. I love their policy of leave no swimmer behind, together you are stronger and your swimming confidence will definitely improve. If you are an absolute beginner, and this is your dream, then I would highly recommend signing up to their beginner courses, it is run on a monthly basis and you will never look back. This is my team, if I train in open water, then it is almost always with them. Great support, great encouragement and swimmers on every level, from zero to hero, absolute beginners, to ocean milers, Robben Island Crossings and more.
This Summer Cape Town’s Swim Events Are Brought to You by…
Big Bay Events: Have been my go to organiser, since the beginning, they helped me with my Robben Island Crossing, around Cape Point and any other long swims I have ever done. They provide the traditional swims calendar around Cape Town… from the Atlantic Side, to False Bay, Langebaan, as well as dam swims. You pay for excellent support and safety on the water and they will do their utmost to make sure that you get a swim in, even if they have to adapt the route on account of the weather. They have boats and paddlers out on the water that check on you and will stop and chat if you need encouragement (!) on the way. Also, their job is to see that you finish your swim and they are happy to ride along next to you all the way to the finish. As a slower swimmer I really appreciate that.
36ONE Openwater Series: Short and fun open water events this summer, and I have met loads of lekker swimmers at these events. Their adventure swims are leading up to the Viking Swim in March, and getting progressively longer. 36ONE has the same format for all their adventure swims, three waves: the slowest wave leaves first, then the medium swimmers and then the elites. Each wave has a “bus driver” or two with them, these are experienced swimmers that make sure that you swim together as a group and get to your destination safely. Also, every month they have a mile event on Clifton Beach, this is for everyone, form absolute beginners to elites, not to mention you will most likely see Olympic swimmers there.
Cape Town’s Summer Swim Calendar
Kwaggaskloof with Big Bay Events 5km
This is one of the first swims of the summer season, and technically not summer at all. The water could still be really icy. This past year, the weather for this swim was absolute perfection… it could not have been better. I was ready for a long swim in my build up to the next event and went for it… shock and horror when EVERYONE else got our at 3km. True to their word, Big Bay Events stayed with me for another loop around the Buoys. I had a great swim and will definitely be signing up for this introduction to the summer season again.
Langebaan Express with Big Bay Events 12km
The Langebaan Express is great event to motivate your training through the winter months. This event consists of a choice of two swims. The first option is the Langebaan crossing, 6km across the Lagoon from Preekstoel to Pearly’s. This swim is tide assisted, you can literally see the bottom of the lagoon skim past below you. It is fast and fantastic and don’t be daunted by the distance, the tide will literally carry you. The other option is a 12km swim the length of the lagoon, when the 6km swimmers get out at Pearly’s you swim on to the yacht club at Mykenos. The tide assist helps for the first half and then you are on your own steam. As with all Big Bay Events, you are well supported, and just raise your hand and a paddler or a boat will pop over to check on you. So this is a great way to introduce yourself to longer distance swims.
The first time I did this swim I chose the shorter option across the Lagoon, it was part of my training for a Robben Island Crossing, and at the time the furthest I had ever swum. Since then I have chosen the 12km choice, I love the challenge… it is far but not impossibly far and with consistent training through the winter it is a fantastic swim.
Barker Rock with Big Bay Events 3km
Another December swim… and this swim is famous for the weather being a little vibey (hello December and windy) and a massive debate, will we or won’t we make it around the rock. For all the years I have swum it, I have never actually been around the rock. The course is brought in closer to shore, into sheltered bay of Clifton 4. Despite the wind, the water was crystal clear, the clouds moved off and the sun shone down through the water layers. This year’s swim was a joyful one… honestly I loved it and I was disappointed when it ended so soon.
36ONE Cosi Bay to Llundudno 1.6km
This was my first 36ONE swim, in December, and the event was hit with unprecedented stormy weather. I know the wind blows during the Cape Summer, but this was cold, gale force with rain and storm warnings all over the peninsula. Needless to say the first wave, the slowest group of swimmers, clambered down to the shore and got into the water with trepidation – all the other swimmers literally waved good bye and went home. Challenge accepted… That was tough, but a necessary mental break through for me as I realised even though it was really rough, and it was crispier than cold, and it could have been overwhelming, I was with competent swimmers and I felt safe… so swim on!!! And I loved it.
36ONE New Year Mile 1.8km
This is the best way to start a New Year, get to the beach early, to avoid the crowd and linger on all day. Turned out to be the most glorious day in Cape Town and absolutley impossible to get to the beach later in the day. The New Year Mile was absolutely fantastic… Cape Town weather was on point, the water was crisp and the swim was great. Looking forward to a New Year Mile going forward… this event was a winner!!!
36ONE Camps Bay to Clifton 2km
And then mid-January and the 36ONE event was again plagued by the weather. Woke up to a grey and miserable day and the wind was less than friendly. The swim across Camp Bay was pretty chilly, and the swim trough the rocks past Glen Beach was hectic, but experience from the previous adventure swim helped, and by the time we turned the corner into Clifton, the sun was out, the wind calmed down and it was an absolute gem of a day.
MAD Dash with Big Bay Events 7km
I LOVED this event, absolutely the very best ever!!! I didn’t enter this race, I decided that night swimming was too big of a challenge for me. Well, “last minute dot com” and a friend couldn’t make it, I was gifted an entry… I didn’t have a moment to think too much about it. Scramble around and find a lift and get there!!! This race is now on my calendar forever after, it was the most epic adventure of them all… I did question my sanity at two in the morning, waking up and three in the morning walking down to the yacht club in my costume.
From the yacht club we were taken on a chilly boat ride across the lagoon, under a magnificent full moon. Once we landed at Preekstoel, the moon went behind the mountain and we swam back to Langebaan across the Lagoon in the dark, through the most stunning sunrise and back in time for breakfast. This was a swim where I stopped, just to appreciate the gloriousness of it all… in the middle of the lagoon, under a starry sky… what a privilege. I loved it.
Around the Rocks with Big Bay Events 2.3km
I might have been swimming for a couple of years, but I have never entered this race, it is touted as extreme, and considering the swims I have managed to swim through this season already, I decided to entire. How bad could it be? Well… pretty bad!!! But sometime during this season my idea of a rough swim has become a great swim… it was super challenging, at times had no idea where the rocks were, where the shore was and literally trying to follow the cap ahead of me. This was epic, really hard and I really enjoyed it. I will definitely be back for more “Round the Rocks.” And… can I say this swim was extreme!!!
36ONE MILE (February) 1.5km
Woke up to a misty morning, the swim was cancelled, so disappointing after such an epic January event… but we managed a mile swim as a team anyway, and free entry into the next mile event in March… so all good!!!
Roman Rock with Big Bay Events 5.5km
This is the swim I looked forward to the swim all year, honestly I entered as soon as I could, I missed this race last year, because entries closed so fast… this year I was so prepared and entered as soon as I could. For this swim, you are taken by boat, from Simonstown to Roman Rock. Once everyone is at the lighthouse, all the swimmers take a wild leap into the sea and then swim against the swell, towards Miller’s Point.
It was a fairly gruelling 5km swim, past the most sunning scenery… Simonstown, Boulder’s Beach, Windmill Beach, Rocklands and onto Miller’s Point. At Miller’s Point we were all treated to lunch at the famous restaurant, The Black Marlin. Followed by a motivational speech by the swimmer, who has swum the most Robben Island Crossing’s, Ryan Stamrod. This was an epic event, I LOVED every second of it… This event has earned its spot as Cape Town’s Premier Swim Event.
36ONE The SeaPointer 3.5km
The final adventure swim before the Viking Swim in March, after a week of stormy weather, Cape Town weather finally played along. I was so greatful to be gifted an entry to this swim, by one of the swimmers… totally totally made my day. The Seapointer had the most beautiful conditions, there is nothing nicer than swimming along with the sun on your back… sunshine, a tough swell after a solid week of wind, and dare I say a little chilly. But altogether a lovely swim and the first time I have ever swum along the promenade before. So wonderful.
And a couple of swims still to come…
Round the Island with Big Bay Events 3.5km
This is another Langebaan swim from Big Bay Events. I last swam this race, before my Robben Island Crossing, in some of the wildest conditions ever – one of those swims that could have put me off open water swimming forever, it was that wild. I am hoping to find my way to Langebaan for this swim, and will have to see how the family logistics work out.
36ONE The Mile (March) 1.5
First Sunday of the month and this month there will be free entry. If you have ever wanted to try Open Water Swimming then this is definitely the swim to try. Click through here for race details.
36ONE’s Viking Swim 5km
A 5km swim from Cosy Bay to Camps Bay. I swum this swim a few years back, just before my Robben Island Crossing, I remember the distance and the cold being quite a challenge… but way more experienced now, the distance is totally doable, and the cold I will have to deal with on the day.
Chapman’s Peak Meander with Big Bay Events 4.8km
Another swim that I have wanted to do for years, similar distance to the Viking Swim, but this one is along the scenic Chapman’s Peak Drive route, more than a little stunning and a swim I have been trying to do for years.
These last two swims happen on the same weekend, the Saturday and the Sunday. Decisions will have to be made. I am not ready to decide just yet… both are swims that I really really want to do!!!
After these swims, I will have swum between 60 and 70 Open Ocean kilometers for the I am Water Foundation, my given gain campaign will wind to an end… and so will a glorious Cape Town Summer of Swimming.