Cold Water Swim Classic at the JBay Winterfest

In Cold Water Swim Classic, Featured, Latest News by Craig Jarvis

Icy water and sunny skies for Cold Water Swim Classic

The JBay Winterfest continued yesterday despite the Corona Open being placed on hold as over 50 swimmers took on the challenge of completing the Cold Water Swim Classic presented by Nicholas Melck.

The 12 C water was always going to take its toll, with four swimmers having to withdraw from the event due to hyperthermia, while 54 swimmers managed to finish one of the most extreme events in South Africa.

With an air temperature of 19 C, conditions on land were a stark contrast to the icy water that awaited swimmers from all over South Africa who descended upon Jeffreys Bay to take part in the Cold Water Classic.

Cold Water Swim Classic © Kody McGregor

Only three swimmers entered the costume division of the triple mile, an official Robben Island crossing qualifying swim.

Veteran PJ Duffy won the men’s section, while Megan Albertyn won the women’s division.

“What an awesome experience! I can’t believe I haven’t done the Cold Water Classic before – will definitely be back next year,” said Albertyn after her swim.

Jeffreys Bay swimmer JC Van Wyk won the double mile while Paige Black won the women’s section of the event.

Cold Water Classic © Kody McGregor

East London swimmer Mbali Vellum in his first cold water swim had to tough it out to complete the double mile.

Event organiser Brenton Williams said it was a hard swim for Mbali and the 12 year old had to dig deep to finish.

“We noticed Mbali from the safety boat after he completed his first mile loop and decided to keep an eye on him.

Initially it looked like he was really battling with the cold but his stroke was consistent and we decided to give him every opportunity to complete his swim.

The Cold Water Classic is all about challenging oneself and Mbali did exactly that and didn’t falter throughout his swim,” said Williams.

“The water was very very cold but I really wanted to finish the double mile,” said Mbali after his courageous swim.

“My goggles kept leaking and I was stopping to fix them and the guys on the boat were always encouraging me to keep swimming and that I was doing well”.

Mbali Vellum © Kody McGregor

Hannah Counihan from Port Elizabeth won the women’s mile while Peter Michaelides from Knysna won the men’s division.

The winners each won a pair of Oakley sunglasses.

The triple mile wetsuit division was won by legendary waterman Kevin Richards while Jenny Potts won the women’s division.

Gary Albertyn won the double mile and keeping it in the family, his daughter Kaitlyn won the women’s race.

Michael Fairall and Suzie du Plessis won the mile wetsuit event.

The Cold Water Classic was sponsored by Nicholas Melck, Oakley sunglasses, Marina Wharf, Newton Johnson wine, Island Tribe and Bio Plus and formed part of the annual JBay Winterfest.

Full results can be found at