18 year old Wayne Jones became the first Port Elizabeth swimmer to win the Nelson Mandela Bay Bell Buoy Challenge in the toughest conditions of the race history on Saturday morning. Jones swimming in his first Bell Buoy Challenge completed the gruelling 8km swim in rough seas and cold water in a time of 1 hour 43 minutes, some 9 minutes ahead of second placed Pretoria swimmer Gary Albertyn.
In strong South Easterly winds and a huge 3m swell, fifty swimmers from around the country set off on what is commonly billed as one of the toughest ocean swims in the country. First casualty of the swim was PE legend open water swimmer and pre-race favourite Kyle Main who withdrew after just 3km due to the frustration of the rough water conditions and not having had a personal second to direct him along the course. Another race favourite amongst the 11 not to complete the swim was top local female swimmer Tracy Gous who had to withdraw because of the cold.
Natalie Goedals, in 3rd place overall, was the first lady home winning the female wetsuit category whilst Tammy Geyer in 5th place overall was the first in the female swimsuit category coming in with top EP masters swimmer PJ Duffy who won the Men’s Swim Suit category in a time of 2hrs 1min. Jeffreys Bay swimmer JC van Wyk placed 2nd in the swim suit category just ahead of PE swimmer Pete Turner.
“Today was definately the toughest we’ve witnessed in the short history of this epic swim, ” said Race Chief Referee Neville Smith who was out on the lead boat. “The finishers today can be very proud of their achievement as you don’t get much tougher races than this one.”
Race owner Mike Zoetmulder of Zports was in high praise of the water safety after the event, “The guys did a fantastic job out on the water, as you can appreciate an event of this nature isn’t possible without a lot of local support and you can’t get better than today’s efforts from the NSRI, Algoa Bay Yacht Club, Prodive and the Surf Lifesaving Clubs of Bluewater Bay and Summerstrand. Together with race volunteers, swimmers seconds and the Beach Office presence, the swimmers were made to feel safe and secure along the whole stretch of the race despite the daunting thought of being on your own some 2.5km out to sea.”
“Whilst only four years old, this race is set to become a landmark event for the Metro due to the interest it already receives from around the world. Despite no local financial support for the event, it continues to showcase water sport in this region and draw a lot of positive media coverage for the city including the great and positively television coverage we receive on SABC news immediately after the event each year.”
Participants enjoyed a warm reception at News Cafe immediately after the swim for the prize giving ceremony where Carol Ann Kelleher, the face of the Tarryn Laine Clinic, joined FINA qualified openwater swimming official Neville Smith to individually congratulate each of the swimmers and present them with their coveted finishers medal. Age group winners received a unique locally made wire and bead penguin trophy whilst the overall winners shared the R4,000 prize money donated by the Tarryn Laine Clinic.
2013 Nelson Mandela Bay Bell Buoy Challenge Results – Hobie Beach, Port Elizabeth:
- Men: 1 Pj Duffy (2:01:16.1); 2 J C Van Wyk (2:05:20.3); 3 Pete Turner (2:08:35.2); 4 Kevin Grey (2:13:07.4); 5 Roger Finch (2:14:08.8); 6 Duncan Edwards (2:15:36.0); 7 Iain Geddes (2:24:59.7); 8 Robert Geddes (2:25:00.6); 9 Wayne Ketteringham (2:26:05.8); 10 Kendal Wright (2:45:28.0); 11 Carl Schreuder (2:46:11.0); 12 Andrew Stewart (2:46:20.7); 13 Brenton Williams (2:53:19.6); 14 Ryan Pienaar (2:58:21.3); 15 Roelof Wilsnach (3:08:00.5); 16 Ian Van Der Walt (3:18:05.7); 17 Willem Agenbag (3:20:13.0)
- Ladies: 1 Tammy Geyer (2:02:26.7)
- Men: 1 Wayne Jones (1:43:10.5); 2 Gary Albertyn (1:52:23.3); 3 Paul Blake (2:06:30.0); 4 Rohan Greyvenstein (2:07:58.8); 5 Greg Tucker (2:10:19.5); 6 Richden Jute (2:11:23.3); 7 Ralph West (2:20:35.8); 8 Iain Barrow (2:27:19.9); 9 Bradley Joubert (2:33:51.1); 10 Andre Kleynhans (2:34:25.2); 11 Stanford Slabbert (2:45:38.8); 12 Christo Van Ryswyk (2:46:57.2); 13 Ian Ross (3:09:08.2)
- Ladies: 1 Natalie Goedhals (1:59:22.6); 2 Liza Bright (2:13:10.3); 3 Denise Bosman (2:20:20.3); 4 Idelette Olivier (2:34:56.7); 5 Mary-Anne Stott (2:45:21.8); 6 Glenda Lee Thomas (2:55:09.1); 7 Angela Ackermann (2:58:13.5); 8 Heather Paton (3:09:49.6)
Wayne Jone crosses the finish line in first place in a time of 1:43:10.5
Natalie Goedhals – first lady home in 1:59:22.6. Photo: Dirk Erasmus