Over R800k raised for KZN charities at the Oceans 8 Charity Swim

Posted on 24 June 2024 By Nomvelo Masango

Some 172 swimmers competed in the 1 Mile, 4 Mile, and 8 Mile events at the Oceans 8 Charity Swim which took place at Durban Undersea Club on the 15th and 16th of June.

The conditions were near-perfect and the annual fundraiser saw more than R800k raised for 14 local schools charities – with donations still coming in.

Picture: Antony Grote Photography

This year, the swimmers competed across a new route which went over the end of Vetch’s Reef, giving participants a clear view of the marine life. In addition to its charitable drive, the charity event also focused on sustainability, with no evidence left on the beach that the event took place.

Swimmers were provided with reusable water bottles, water-on-tap, and minimum packaging. In fine form, Kloof resident Matt Pelser (21) won all eight events over the weekend, raising R5 920 for the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI). He praised the organisation of the event, saying this year’s course was so interesting to swim.

‘The conditions couldn’t have been better. This is becoming one of my favourite swims – the people running the event, the event itself, and the fact that everyone is swimming to raise money for wonderful charities is just amazing.’

Russell Munroe (49) from Fourways in Joburg was the top fundraiser overall, raising R42 080 for Singakwenza Early Childhood Education. Describing the event as ‘amazing’, Russell said the water clarity was a definitely highlight.

Picture: Anthony Grote Photography

‘We could see fireweed with its bioluminescence, lionfish, mullet, and numerous other reef fish, with one group spotting a sting ray. There was a negligible amount of plastic in the sea and the beaches looked in pristine condition. It’s clear there was a concerted effort by Durban residents to make this section look the way it does.’

Working in education, Russell further added that he strongly believes in the work Singakwenza does: ‘They provide much-needed assistance to young learners in previously disadvantaged communities with many innovative ideas, be it occupational therapy or teaching aids. Oceans 8 is a great initiative, creating awareness about the need to preserve our natural heritage.’

Oceans 8 Charity Swim event spokesperson, Hilary Bruss, said it took a lot of collaboration to make the event a success: ‘We’d like to extend our appreciation to everyone involved in making the Oceans 8 Charity Swim such a huge success, as well as sending our congratulations to all the top achievers and to those who were competing in their first-ever ocean swimming event.’

She added that the Durban Undersea Club was packed with swimmers, spectators, sponsors, and vendors – all part of the community supporting the various causes.

The Oceans 8 Charity Swim is the country’s first-of-its-kind open water swim, organised exclusively by charities for charities. This year, the total amount raised for the 14 charities is R809,967 to date, with more donations still coming in.

Picture: Anthony Grote Photography

‘If you’re one of those people who has always wanted to do an open water sea event but are a bit nervous about trying the ocean, this is the event to do! Crystal clear seas, flat, calm waters, the most incredible conditions for any swimmer – in line with the best in the world,’ concluded Bruss.

Watch out for next year’s Oceans 8 Charity Swim by visiting www.oceans8swim.co.za or following @oceans8_charityswim on Instagram and oceans8swim on Facebook.

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