General Event News Swimchix meets Pevensey Place swimmers At the Pevensey Place inter-house gala, the Swimchix met the amazing residents that took part in this years aQuellé Midmar Mile. They were proudly wearing their Mile t-shirts and their individually engraved medals. Well done to the following swimmers: Bokke Rossouw, Hilda Gammage, Janine Brindle, Samantha Smith, Anton Egner, Moira Gray, Stuart Seymour and Udette Pretorius.
Extreme Workwear
DATE 21 April 2018
TIME 09h00
PROVINCE Western Cape
START VENUE Robben Island Harbour,Robben Island,
NAME Derrick Fraser
NUMBER 082-7705798
EMAIL derrick@bigbayevents.co.za


Pre-entries: www.freedomswim.co.za. Entries close a month before the event. You may enter in one of two categories, solo or relay. Relay teams are made up of two, three or four swimmers. Teams may compete in either the open or corporate event and each team may choose to swim with or without a wetsuit. There is a schools relay as well, participants must be between 12- and 18-years-old and must wear wetsuits. The field for solo participants is limited to 120.

Qualifying for the race: For reasons of safety it is mandatory for solo swimmers to qualify for the event. The basic conditions require you to spend no less than an hour-and-a-half swimming in water that is 14°C or lower or at least two hours in water that is above 15°C. Notwithstanding the qualifications, the Swim Committee has full discretion on allowing or preventing a swimmer from participating.

Qualifying can be done in several different ways:
• Complete a solo swim from Robben Island to the mainland within the past three years that is recognised by the Cape Long Distance Swimming Association.
• Complete a 5,000 metre open water swim in temperatures of 15°C or below in the past five years.
• Complete one of the qualifying swims set out by the organisers early in 2018.

Registration takes place from 08h00 onwards at the Robben Island Ferry Terminal at the V&A Waterfront.


Race Start Coordinates: -33.79755141971048, 18.37517023086548 

Race Finish Coordinates: -33.79461095402633, 18.45796108202194 

Start: Eastern side of Robben Island at Murray Beach. GPS coordinates: -33.78438, 18.45248 Finish: Big Bay, Bloubergstrand.


Phillip Chappell a Robben Island swim finisher puts it this way: ‘The start is quite intense. The solo swimmers set out first and the relay teams leave approximately 15 minutes later. The support boats are all over the place and it is difficult to find your second. Some swimmers even had helium balloons attached to their costumes to enable their helpers to find them.

The water conditions were very rough with a headwind and swells of up to three-and-a-half metres making the swim choppy and very hard work. This made it challenging to keep up with the support team. The temperature was cold but not unbearable for those who had acclimatised in the weeks before the event.

As we got closer to shore at Big Bay Beach the boats had to veer away as two ragged reefs could have caused significant damage. We had to swim between the reefs and were met by Surf Lifesaving patrols who escorted us for the last 600 metres. The waves onto the beach were heavy and difficult to catch. There was a low tide at around 12h30 and a current swept many swimmers downwards and some finished a kilometre away from the finish area.

Authorised vehicles picked the swimmers up and brought them back to the finish. Safety was always a key factor throughout the event and all finishers were escorted to the medical room where there were doctors, specialists, beds, heaters, food and hot showers. Participants were only allowed to leave after a thorough medical examination.’


A commemorative medal is awarded to all finishers.


The channel between Robben Island and Big Bay is well known for its bitterly cold water and low temperatures. Here the sea varies between 9°C and 14°C and plays a decisive role in your crossing. This is not the only consideration; you will have to deal with strong and sometimes unpredictable currents. Add a headwind and swells up to three-and-a-half metres into the mix and it becomes obvious why the race has an international reputation.


Starting at Robben Island and finishing at Bloubergstrand.

Race Name Release Date Media Release
NAME Big Bay Events
PROVINCE Western Cape
WEBSITE deblynn.co.za/bigbay/
ADDRESS Box 20206 Big Bay Cape Town


Western Cape Mica Cape Swim Series: Heritage Day Swim 24 September 2018 Oceana Power Boat Club Granger Bay V&A Waterfront Derrick Fraser 082-7705798
Western Cape Waterfront Canal Challenge 13 October 2018 Battery Park V&A Waterfront Cape Town Derrick Fraser 082-7705798
Western Cape Atlantic Dash 21 October 2018 Clifton Fourth Beach 53 Castle Street Clifton Derrick Frazer 082-7705798
Western Cape Benguela Cove Adventure Weekend 04 November 2018 Benguela Cove Wine Estate Walker Bay Hermanus Derrick Frazer 082-7705798
Western Cape Quaggaskloof Openwater Swim 25 November 2018 Quaggaskloof Dam Western Cape Lee-Anne 082-7705798
Western Cape Mica Cape Swim Series: Reconciliation Day Swim 17 December 2018 Clifton Fourth Beach Barker Rock Cape Town Derrick Fraser 082-7705798
Northern Cape Ice Swim Africa 01 January 2019 Nuwedam Fraserburg Derrick Frazer 082-7705798
Western Cape Benguela Cove Lagoon Swim 01 January 2019 Benguela Cove Wine Estate Walker Bay Derrick Frazer 082-7705798
Western Cape Brian Curtis Mile 01 January 2019 Eikenhof Dam Elgin Country Club Grabouw Derrick Frazer 082-7705798
Western Cape Around the Rocks Extreme Swim 20 January 2019 Big Bay Surf Lifesaving Club Blouberg Strand Derrick Frazer 082-7705798
Western Cape Langebaan Lagoon Around the Island Swim 17 March 2019 Langebaan Main Beach Bree Street Langebaan Lagoon Derrick Frazer 082-7705798
Western Cape Mica Cape Swim Series: Human Rights Day Swim 21 March 2019 Camps Bay Beach Cape Town Derrick Fraser 082-7705798
Western Cape Shipwrecked 24 March 2019 Big Bay Surf Lifesaving Club Blouberg Strand Derrick Frazer 082-7705798
Western Cape Robben Island Freedom Day Swim 13 April 2019 Robben Island Harbour Robben Island Derrick Fraser 082-7705798
Western Cape Lighthouse to Big Bay Swim 26 May 2019 Big Bay Surf Lifesaving Club Blouberg Strand Derrick Frazer 082-7705798
Western Cape Mica Cape Swim Series: Youth Day Swim 16 June 2019 Camps Bay Beach Cape Town Derrick Fraser 082-7705798
Western Cape Mica Cape Swim Series: Women's Day Swim 09 August 2019 Big Bay Livesaving Club Blouberg Derrick Fraser 082-7705798

When Dutchman Jan Rykman scrambled up a Cape Town beach in 1640 the last thing on his mind was the Freedom Day Swim. But he is credited as the first prisoner on Robben Island to swim to freedom. Much has happened since then and the island has played host to more illustrious company than Rykman.

This historic World Heritage Site is a fitting backdrop to arguably one of the hardest open water swimming events in the world. The event highlights Robben Island's historic role in South Africa's struggle for democracy. Every care and consideration is taken to ensure the island is accorded the dignity and respect for which it has become synonymous.

The modern-day race was first swum in 2001 and has grown in numbers and stature. There are several international competitors and media interest is intense. The Robben Island Freedom Day Swim is South Africa’s showcase extreme open water swimming.


There are compulsory pre-race briefing sessions on both the Tuesday and Thursday before the swim. All participants must attend one of these sessions. You also collect your goodie bag, boat signage, emergency instructions and swim caps. The briefings include a presentation from a doctor on the three levels of hypothermia. There is a strong emphasis on safety in all aspects of the event. Each Solo swimmer and each relay team must be supported by a motorised vessel, which is subject to the regulations governing support vessels. Two solo swimmers may share one motorised boat provided the swimmers remain within 10 metres of the boat at all times during the race. Experienced solo swimmers may apply to the swim committee to be accompanied by a paddler rather than a motorised vessel.

On the day of the swim the boats leave for Robben Island at 07h00. The ferry leaves for Robben Island at around 08h30 and the trip takes about 45 minutes depending on conditions. Swimmers shall not be permitted an artificial aid of any kind; however swimmers may grease themselves, use goggles and wear a single official cap and a single bathing suit. During the swim no physical contact with the swimmer shall be made by any person. Swimmers may not touch the boat while swimming. A cut-off time of two hours at the halfway mark shall be implemented for safety purposes. Participants who have not made the cut-off shall be disqualified and removed from the water.

There is a strong community aspect to the race and the proceeds from the event are donated to the Vista Nova School which cares for children with special needs. Participants are strongly encouraged to donate an amount over and above the minimum entrance fee.

Time Limit:

Finishers: 0