Cape Town - World renowned long distance cold water swimmer, Theodore Yach, has completed a record breaking 70th crossing from Robben Island to Blouberg in tough conditions including icy 11 degree water.
Celebrating the milestone on Wednesday by raising funds for disadvantaged children, 55 year-old-Yach spent 2hrs 29min swimming from the world famous former island home of Nelson Mandela to Big Bay in Blouberg, wearing only a Speedo costume, cap and goggles.
He was joined by nine other extreme swimmers who together raised approximately R12 000 for the Cape-based Splash swimming programme for disadvantaged children. They were accompanied by a small fleet of support vessels keeping watch for sharks and on hand in case of hypothermia.
Yach said after the gruelling feat: ‘I'm ecstatic!...this has been the most emotional swim of them all. It was incredibly tough, the water started off as a nice tropical 13 and finished with 11 degrees.'
When asked if he was now setting his sights on a 100th crossing he answers ‘we will see'.
Yach says his next biggest swim challenge is the ‘Dogs leg' which is a 18km swim starting at Three Anchor bay, to Robben Island and then finishing on Blouberg beach.
Yach, who completed his first crossing in 1981, already holds the record for the most crossings to Robben Island, and is the only person to have swum from Cape Town's Three Anchor Bay, around Robben Island and back (29.5km) and has also successfully swum the 36km English Channel.
A group of children from Splash welcomed Yach and the exhausted swimmers onto the beach for a small celebration. The swim programme is supported by Speedo SA and run by water safety expert Derrick Fraser.
"The children in the programme are progressing incredibly well. The level of ability ranges from getting used to the water to learning different strokes. We want to teach children to respect and love the water and in this way help save lives," said Frazer.
Speedo SA Brand President Stuart Hopwood said Yach was an icon in swimming and an inspiration to all who chose swimming for recreation, fitness or competition.