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TRAINING

SERIOUS POOL TIME

Sea Point Pavilion

For time in the pool there is no better place than the Sea Point Pavilion. This is a large 50m open air sea water public pool on the beach front in Sea Point. In summer (October to March) the pool is open from 07:00 until 19:00, although it is best to get there early to avoid the crowds.

Some swimmers prefer this venue on a Sunday morning. Indeed, you will find other swimmers there every morning, as well as at lunchtimes and after work. Many of the Cape Long Distance Swimming legends should be training - veterans like Peter Bales, Hugh Tucker, Theo Yach and Otto Thanning still train here regularly.

Although pool training is vital, it would be dvisable to do some training in the ocean as well. Camps Bay Beach or 4th Beach, Clifton, are perfect for this as both are reasonably well protected bays and the water is normally calm and cold. It is however never advisable to swim on your own so that your first port of call should be one of the social swims described here.

HOW DO I PREPARE FOR A ROBBEN ISLAND SWIM?

The biggest challenge presented by Robben Island, Cape Point and often False Bay swims is not necessarily the distance, but the cold water temperature. There are ways to prepare your body and mind for a cold swim: these include training in cold water for weeks or even months before an attempt, or traveling to Cape Town at least a week before your attempt to acclimatise in the Atlantic ocean. Picking up some weight could be beneficial as extra body fat will serve as a natural insulation and may prevent hypothermia.

WHAT AM I ALLOWED TO WEAR?

A swim is only official when done according to the English Channel Swimming rules, i.e., a swimmer is permitted to wear only one costume, one cap, and one pair of swimming goggles. You are allowed to use grease, but this is seldom done other than to prevent chaffing.

WHEN IS THE BEST TIME OF YEAR TO ATTEMPT A SWIM IN CAPE TOWN, AND HOW WILL THE WEATHER AFFECT MY SWIM?

The open water swimming season in Cape Town generally stretches from October to April/May, although crossings in winter have been completed successfully. Water temperatures on the Atlantic side supposedly increase around February / March / April, due to the gradual decrease of the prevailing summer-wind, the South-Easter. It does however often happen that temperatures are still very low during these months, and higher in January; it is unfortunately impossible to predict. The hot air temperature during summer months does make a big difference.

The conclusion is that, due to Cape Town's often unpredictable weather, especially with regards to wind, it is advisable to allow yourself a reasonable window period in order to at least get a chance to make an attempt. A period of 7-10 days should be sufficient for Robben Island, Cape Point and Cape Agulhas attempts, while crossing False Bay is more complicated. Please contact us to discuss this.