Just yesterday, Theodore Yach, a world renowned long distance, cold water swimmer completed a record breaking 70th swim from Robben Island all the way to Cape Town in extremely rough and tough conditions, which included the icy 11 degrees water. The 55-year-old spent a total of 2 hours and 29 minutes swimming from the world famous former island home of Nelson Mandela to Big Bay in only his Speedos, cap and goggles. All this was done to raise funds for disadvantaged children.
Aside from himself, he was being joined by nine other swimmers who had the same goal in mind. Through the efforts of all, they managed to raise approximately R12 000 for the Cape-based Splash swimming programme for disadvantaged children. They were also being accompanied by a small fleet of support vessels, who helped to keep an eye out for sharks and to be on hand to aid any of the swimmers if they suffered from hypothermia. ‘I’m ecstatic!…this has been the most emotional swim of them all. It was incredibly tough, the water started off as a nice tropical 13 and finished with 11 degrees,’ described Theodore after finally completing the gruelling feat.
When he was asked if he had intentions of setting his sights on a 100th crossing, he mentioned that himself and the entire crew would have to see how it goes. He went on to state that his next biggest swim challenge would be the ‘Dogs leg’, which is a 18km swim starting from Three Anchor Bay, proceeding to Robben Island and then ending on Blouberg beach. Theodore completed his first ever crossing back in 1981. Currently, he holds the record for the greatest number of crossings to Robben Island. If that wasn’t enough, he is the only person so far to have swum from Cape Town’s Three Anchor Bay, around Robben Island and back (29.5km) and successfully swum the 36km English Channel.
After Theodore and his team reached their ending point exhausted, a group of children from Splash welcomed them to the beach for a mini celebration. This swim programme is supported by Speedo SA and run by water safety expert Derrick Fraser. “The children in the programme are progressing incredibly well. The level of ability ranges from getting used to the water to learning different strokes. We want to teach children to respect and love the water and in this way help save lives,” explained Derrick.
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