Saturday, January 3, 2009

Taking On Another Challenge

Natalie du Toit of South Africa’s qualification for the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim was among the nominations for the Top Ten Open Water Swimming Moments in History.

Similar to her challenging road to Beijing, Natalie encountered obstacles, but eventually achieved success, in her final open water swim of the year in 2008.

Her December 28th victory in the 6K Sabrina Love Ocean Challenge was described as an absolutely blistering performance from an enormously inspiring athlete.

Because the weather was horrendous and ocean swells were dangerous, the event was shifted from its usual ocean location to Central Beach in Plettenberg Bay (previously referred to as ‘Bahia Formosa’ or ‘beautiful bay’ in Portuguese). Because the water was very shallow in place and Natalie can’t simply stand up to walk through the sand patches, it was a real challenge. But, she won the event in 54:35 (second overall to winning Chad Ho’s 53:45).

"Safety considerations forced us to call off the 6K and the 0.6K kid’s race, but Magnetic South pulled the rabbit out of the hat and set new courses on the Keurbooms Lagoon so the day went off without a hitch," said the Sabrina Love Foundation’s Tony Lubner. "What amazed us, though, was the number of entries that poured in: I think it’s well over a thousand - double what we had last year."

Photos by Magnetic South and Martin Hatchuel.

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