Thursday, October 29, 2009

Kouga's Creatively Cool Canal Competition

As the Northern Hemisphere enters its winter season and open water swimmers either become dormant or head indoors to train in pools, the Southern Hemisphere open water swimming season is getting underway from Sydney to Kouga.


The Eastern Province Open Water Swim Series in South Africa will host six swims of 1K, 3K, 5K and 10K in the pristine canals of Marina Martinique. Marina Martinique is located in the world-famous surfing location of Jeffreys Bay. The races cater to all levels of swimming in the safe confines of the Martinique canals and is also a qualifying swim for the South Africa Open Water Swim Championships. The 5K and 10K swims are for elite open water swimmers who wish to qualify for provincial and South African national teams that will be selected to compete internationally.

Marj Heymans, Chairman of Kouga Tourism said, "The series is a well-needed boost for tourism as it will certainly bring visitors to the town. We will be supporting the Kouga Swim Club in marketing the events and assisting in ensuring the series becomes an annual fixture in our tourism calendar. There is no doubt that we have the facilities to host world-class open water swim events and hopefully we will even see international events take place in the Kouga in the not too distant future."

Brenton Williams, coach of the local swim club and organizer of the Marina Mile is similarly enthusiastic, "Open water swimming is one of the fastest growing extreme sports in the world and interest is growing after the inclusion of the 10K marathon swim in the Olympic Games. We have many athletes in the Kouga who will benefit from a top-level series like the Eastern Province Open Water Swim Series. Triathethes who want to experience open water swimming in preparation for the Ironman as well as surfers who want to stay fit for the big days will find that Marina Martinique is the best venue there is in the Eastern Cape. There are no currents, the canals are protected from the wind and there is no worries about blue bottles and sharks. The Marina is also very spectator friendly, making it the perfect place for the family to enjoy quality time and enjoy the swimming."

The series includes races on October 25 (1K, 3K, 5K), November 22 (1K, 3K, 5K), December 23 (1K, 3K, Marina Mile), January 16-17 (1K, 3K, 5K, 10K), January 30-31 (1K, 3K, 5K, 10K Eastern Province Open Water Championships) and March 13-14 (1K, 3K, 5K, 10K).

Michael Marais (shown above) won the inaugural 5K race this past weekend in a South African national qualifying time of 1:03:16. Jessica Roux won the women's 5K race in 1:07:10 which also qualified as a South African national qualifying time. Jonathan Roux won the 3K swim in 42 minutes and Tammy Geyer won the women's 3K race in in 44:43.

We couldn't agree more with Coach Williams.

Information courtesy of Babobski's Blog.

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