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ABOUT THE CAPE LONG DISTANCE SWIMMING ASSOCIATION
OUR AIMS ARE TO:
promote
Promote and expose long distance open water swimming in general
coordinate
Help coordinate, officiate and record all long distance open water solo swims in Cape waters.
promote cpt
Promote Cape Town as an open water swimming destination
advice
Assist those travelling to Cape Town for swims, by offering open water swimming information and advice, as well as travelling advice to optimise your Cape Town experience.

Don’t be lured into thinking that a Robben Island crossing is an easy feat. Theodore Yach’s hundred-odd swims can easily lead one to believe the swim is a “walk in the park”. It is exactly the opposite!

It is internationally rated as a difficult open water sea swim, short maybe, but with icy seas of an average of 12 degrees centigrade treacherous currents and fast changing conditions, it is rated as one of the finest training grounds for English Channel swim hopefuls.

From the early days in the late 1870s, when the first Robben Island crossing was attempted, the swim has always attracted attention and curiosity. In 1909, when Henry Hooper became the first person to successfully swim from the Island to Roggebaai, Capetonians could not believe what he had achieved. Before then it was thought impossible. When the first woman, Peggy Duncan, swam the crossing, 30 000 Capetonians lined the Old Pier and Roggebaai Beach to welcome her. She completed the distance in nine hours and thirty minutes!

Peter Bales has officiated hundreds of swims since the late 1960s, as has Tony Scalabrino and Barry Cutler and latterly, Alon Kowen have piloted many swimmers across Table Bay, navigating the shortest and safest passage to land. Bales and two friends formed the Cape Long Distance Swimming Association in the late 1960’s to officiate and record Robben Island swims.

Robben Island crossings are run by the same rules which govern English Channel attempts. Just a simple costume, a pair of goggles and a single swimming cap are allowed. No wet suits, no thermal caps, no double costumes are permitted. Just bare skin immersed in ice cold water. It’s the swimmer against the elements and that’s why it is held in such high regard.

The Robben Island swim remains an ideal goal for many swimmers worldwide because of the physical challenge, as well as the historical significance of the Island.

Eddy Cassar is a local publicist who has numerous Robben Island swims to his name.

CLDSA Open Water swimming Rules 

THE COMMITTEE
Andrew Chin

CHAIRMAN

Andrew Chin

Felicity Pentland-Smith

TREASURER

Felicity Pentland-Smith

Sandi Sher

SECRETARY

Sandi Sher

Derrick Frazer

SWIM COORDINATOR

Derrick Frazer

Mervyn Bremner

SWIM COORDINATOR

Mervyn Bremner

Hazel McQueen

COMMUNICATIONS

Hazel McQueen

Eddy Cassar

COMMUNICATIONS

Eddy Cassar

Tom Maydon

ADDITIONAL MEMBER

Tom Maydon

PUBLICATIONS