Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Celebrating Freedom in the Open Water

The 7.5K Cadiz Freedom Swim, held annually in April, is one of the toughest major cold water races in the world – 7.5K from the shores of Robben Island, across the famous Robben Island channel, to the Big Bay beach on Cape Town’s False Bay coast.

Robben Island is located offshore from Cape Town, South Africa and was used as a cruel prison for nearly 400 years.

From 1964 to 1982, Robben Island was the prison for Nelson Mandela. Today, the island is a World Heritage site and offers one of the world’s great channel challenges. The Robben Island channel is known for its bitterly cold water (around 13°C or 55.4°F) and strong, unpredictable currents.

The annual swim takes place this year on April 25th, celebrating Freedom Day in South Africa, the day Nelson Mandela won the 1994 election in South Africa. The solo race is conducted under English Channel rules (i.e., no wetsuits). The race also has several types of relays: 2 swimmers, 4 swimmers, no wetsuits, wetsuits, corporate with wetsuits optional, school with wetsuits (ages 12-18).

Over 200 swimmers are expected in April 2009, including Olympian Natalie du Toit who has won the women’s division every year she has participated, Carina Brewer (shown to left) and Theo Yacht.

Photo of Robben Island from Cape Swim website. Photo of Carina Brewer from her website.

Copyright © 2009 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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