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Splendid Seventieth Swim For Splash

Rough. Cold. Sharks.

Swims from Robben Island to Cape Town are not easy. The exact opposite of easy.

Which is why it has attracted Theodore Yach, another hardened stalwart of the cold water swimming community, to this very spot. Many times. 70 times. Yesterday, he extended his record by completing his 70th crossing in 2 hours 29 minutes in tough conditions from Robben Island to Cape Town in 11ºC (51.8ºF) water.

55-year-old Yach celebrated his milestone by raising funds for disadvantaged children, swimming from the world-famous former island prison of Nelson Mandela to Big Bay.

He was joined by nine other extreme swimmers who together raised approximately R12,000 for the Cape-based Splash swimming programme.

The group were accompanied by a small fleet of support vessels keeping watch for sharks and hypothermia. Yach said after the grueling feat, “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 13ºC and finished with 11ºC.”

But there is no stopping now. Not after crossing #70, nor at the age of 55.

When asked if he was now setting his sights on a 100th crossing he answered, “We will see. My next biggest swim challenge is the ‘Dogs leg’ which is a 18 km swim starting at Three Anchor bay, to Robben Island and then finishing on Blouberg beach.

The English Channel swimmer, who began his Robben Island crossings in 1981, has now been at it for 32 years. Supported locally and fund-raising locally, Yach was greeted by a group of children from Splash and supported by Speedo South Africa and water safety expert Derrick Fraser of Big Bay Events.

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,” said Frazer.

Speedo South Africa Brand President Stuart Hopwood said, “Yach is an icon in swimming and an inspiration to all who chose swimming for recreation, fitness or competition.”

Without a doubt.

Photo above shows Theodore Yach with swimmer Mark De Klerk.

Copyright © 2013 by Open Water Swimming

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