A colder than usual Saturday morning welcomed a decent contingent of open water swimmers to the banks of the Ebenezer dam for the 30th annual Haenertsburg Rotary Club Mile swim. It was two years ago that the last open water swim was held here, due to the lockdown and the 24 months of ridiculousness that followed.
What made this year’s event especially special, was the celebration of the event’s 30th anniversary since its inception way back in March of 1992. Through the years it had grown in popularity from just a handful of swimmers, to the nearly 700 competitors and close on 2 000 spectators seen today.
The event has since birthed a second, longer race which is determined over 3 000 metres. It was in this event that Bernard Mentz took the gold in the Male Open race in a time of 00:55:30, which was 13 minutes slower than his 00:42:31 time he swam in 2019 where he took second spot just behind Rudolf Naude who won that race in 00:42:12.
This year’s second place went to Kuno Venter who finished in 00:59:14 ahead of John Swart in third who finished in 01:02.55.
In the Female Open race, it was Linda de Nysschen in 01:01:01 who took gold with Andri Luus second in a time of 01:09:40 and Anri Burger in third in a time of 01:11:16.
In the main event, the Ebenezer Mile, it was local heroine Pia Stewart who once again took gold in the Ladies 31+ category in a time of 00:28:19 which was five seconds slower than her 2019 winning time of 00:23:57.
Mirroring the 2019 race, Linda de Nysschen finished in second place in 00:30:08 which was also three seconds slower than her previous best of 00:27:06. Trudi Maree took the bronze this year in a time of 00:32:47.
Schalk Malan took the gold in the Men 31+ category in a time of 00:25:12 which was enough to beat second placed Kuno Venter who finished in 00:28:23 with Pierre Bassani in third in a time of 00:29:34.
In the category for females 14-30 years, it was Adri Ventes who took it in 00:31:15 with Emma Cope in second in a time of 00:31:19 and Gretchen Bekker in third in a time of 00:32:42.
Bernard Mentz led the field home in the category for males 14 to 30 years of age. Mentz won in a time of 00:26:02, about three minutes clear of Jason Kok who finished in a time of 00:29:19. In third position with a time of 00:31:05 was Brad Askew.