• Nikon
  • Roag
  • Gauteng Motor Show

Third time’s a charm for ultra-swimmers’ charity challenge


Words & Photo: Lauren Cohen

Cold water ultra-swimmers Theodore Yach and Martin Goodman have raised close to R100 000 for charity after successfully completing a 27km swim from Llandudno to Robben Island on Tuesday.

After the failure of two previous attempts, the pair altered the route to exclude Hout Bay because of constant rough sea conditions in the area. The new swim route, which is the same length of the English Channel – the pinnacle of open water swimming – was conquered in seven hours.

Goodman and Yach have achieved a first in the fast-growing sport of open-water swimming, with an effort which required not only physical fitness but also mental fortitude.
"When we started it was pitched dark, with howling winds rough seas, but it got better after about two hours," Yach said.

Wearing just swimming costumes, goggles and caps, dangers facing the pair included sharks, hypothermia, blue-bottle stings, shipping traffic and the changing currents and temperatures of the icy Atlantic Ocean.

Half of a R80 000 donation from two confidential donors will go to Glenbridge Special School in Diep River, where 119 pupils, many of which suffer from Down Syndrome or autism, are schooled. The remaining money will be donated to Sea Point Shul’s Normie Fund, charity dedicated to a beloved member of the Marais Road Shul, Norman Isaacson, who died last year. Various sporting attempts are being done to raise funds for a new hall in Norman’s name.

“We hope the public will get behind further our efforts by donating more as we are also supporting the Splash Foundation, which teaches underprivileged children to swim."

Two support boats with a medical doctor and qualified lifeguards on board followed Yach and Goodman to ensure their health and safety. “We were fed every half hour with our individual meal concoctions, every half hour we drank a complex sugar energy drink, and every hour we had a carbohydrate drink and water,” Goodman said of their complex nutrition routine. "I definitely left nothing out there yesterday!"

“This swim was a real challenge for me and I relished the chance to test myself by going longer and further than I have ever gone before. I was also excited to have the opportunity to swim next to the Guru of open water swimming,” said Goodman. Yach’s autobiography, In My Element, detailing his open-water swimming career dating back to the 1980s, was published in 2012.

Yach’s longest swim to date is the 34km English Channel, while Goodman’s was a 15km double crossing from Robben Island to Blouberg.

Read more about the swim on www.swim4charity.co.za and donate on the website via a secure payment gateway.