A Day Later, R80000 Richer, Petar Stoychev Wins Cadiz Freedom Swim

A Day Later, R80000 Richer, Petar Stoychev Wins Cadiz Freedom Swim

The most dominant professional marathon swimmer of the 21st century, Petar Stoychev won the extreme (to say the least) Cadiz Freedom Swim in Big Bay, Cape Town, South Africa on Sunday.

A day after being postponed and moved due to weather conditions, Petar finished the modified 8.5K course in 12°C (53.6°F) water in 1:51:54 in the event.

The event raised funds for Vista Nova School for children with learning disabilities.

Lean and preparing for the World Swimming Championship 10K Olympic qualifier, the 12°C conditions were very tough for the top two men – Petar and Trent Grimsey.

But the winner took over R80000 (US$11,986), one of the biggest cash prizes in the open water swimmingworld. He described the race, “It was very good, but very hard. Trent started very fast and it was difficult out there. There were also very strong South Africans in the field.

Trent whose body fat percentage is only one-third of the water temperature in Celsius, swam an absolutely gutsy race, but collapsed at the finish line. He was treated for mild hypothermia by Medi-Clinic’s emergency team at the site. “It was the hardest [race] I have ever done by far. I’ve never swum in anything this cold. I remember crossing the finish line and not much afterwards.”

17-year-old South African Lisa Cowling was the winning female and third overall in an impressive swim where she beat a field of strong male and female international and local extreme swimmers.

It was tough. I went numb from the cold and then I was okay. I didn’t expect to do as well as I did, I was just aiming to finish. I’m happy,” said the young up-and-comer with a tremendously bright open water future.

Lifeguards from the Big Bay Surf Lifesaving Club, the NSRI, West Coast Volunteers and other race organization staff were kept busy throughout the day. They all collectively and professionally oversaw swimmer safety and were watching out for hypothermic athletes.

After postponing and modifying the course due from Robben Island to Big Bay due to strong winds and cold water, and to ensure safety, Ram Barkai reported that 260 swimmers (including both soloists and relay members and shark attack victim Achmat Hassiem shown on left) of the original field of 410 started on Sunday. “12 were treated for moderate hypothermia during and after the race and at least 70% of the field experienced mild hypothermia,” said Medi-Clinic’s Dr Basil Bonner.

Race sponsors that helped support one of the most popular extreme swims in the world included Marcus Rohrer Spirulina, Speedo and the Western Cape Government.

Photos by Janet McCallum.

Copyright © 2011 by Open Water Source