They came from all over the country, goggles in hand, Vaseline at the ready, 1000-yard stare fixed nervously on the lagoon, for the season’s most popular open water swim event!
A huge congrats to this year’s winners, Joburger Kyle Stephens (16!!) who finished in 2:39:06, and first lady home Marizanne Grundlingh in 2.51.28. This was Kyle’s first 12-km swim! The six km event was won by Dave Nel in a blistering 1.08.57, thanks to a flying tidal assist, and the first lady home was Ingrid Trusler in 1.14.43. Respect, too, to Adine Friedman and Marele Moolman who held up the rear and braved that coldish water for just over four hours.
Kyle says the Express was a stepping stone to his goal of a False Bay crossing next March. “The plan was just to test my training and see if we were on track for the end goal. To win was a bonus. The whole experience from start to finish was inspiring. I met some amazing people and it just encouraged me even more to continue with my passion,” he says.
Pieter Emslie, one of those tough and nippy Fussers, didn’t realise it at the time, but he was racing Ryan Stramrood home for 10th place. Pieter only swam his first Robben Island last December. “I was on a better line than this guy that appeared out of nowhere, but he was about 20m ahead. He entered the harbour just in front of me. Damn, I’m not going to overtake him, but I have made it to the end. At the finish line I couldn’t believe my eyes! The guy I was trying to chase down climbing up the ladder was none other than the legendary Ryan Stramrood! Ok, now I don’t feel bad at all.”
Ryan and Pieter both shaved a minute-plus off three hours!
Finally, some wise words from Nadine Pincus who did the 6km in 1.35.10. “More than the destination, I love the journey towards it. I love regular swimming and the camaraderie in our swimming community is just something special. No one is too important to give a piece of advice or help and I have experienced this on so many levels from highly experienced open water swimmers to friends helping me get through the big waves in Camps Bay.”
A big thank you to Big Bay Events who make it all look so smooth, and to toggy Chris Hitchcock who also makes us all look so smooth
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