Twenty nine swimmers set themselves a goal to complete 24 hours of swimming in a 50 m pool on 22 and 23 January – and they did it! Madswimmer provided swimmers a platform to enter for this extreme event, recorded the results and became the first ever group in SA to have it done officially.
Fifteen entered as solo swimmers, 12 participated in relay teams and 2 to participated on the Saturday only (i.e. not the full 24 hours). Madswimmer Duncan Kukard, who initiated the 24h swim, told swimmers they were allowed to get out of the water as often as they want, eat and rest, as long as they don’t leave the premises. Swimmers have set themselves goals in terms of the distances they wanted to cover, which became the aim of the game i.e. how far can you go in 24 hours.
Tyron Venter covered the furthest solo distance for men with 57 km, Sarah Ferguson for women with 45 km, and Jade Homveld and Justine Johnson was the best relay team that covered a distance of 72 km. The total distance covered was 860 km. The average per swimmer, if relay teams were counted as 1 (swimmer) was 41km.
Swimmers experienced the swimming through the night as particularly tough. Besides the fatigue and monotony, they became extremely cold. However, the hardest part seems the mental challenge this swim has set. “Swimming up and down for 24 hours starts messing with your brain and requires super endurance” said swimmer Mandy Macascill.
The event took place at Wits University in Johannesburg. Swimmers came from as far as Durban and the Cape to participate – from SA Championship participants to somebody who learnt how to swim for the first time only three years ago. Ryan Stramrood, Kieron Palframan and Mark de Klerk of the International Ice Swimming Association also participated, as well as famous names like olympic swimmer Gerhard Zandberg, Sam Cowen of 702 and Brett Collopy of SABC 3 Expresso Breakfast Show dropped by to swim with us for a few hours. Sam Cowen commented that she hopes to participate in many more Madswimmer extreme events in future.
ER24 was on site throughout and Dr Greg Duddy and Sport Chiropractors from the University of Johannesburg eased out muscle pains during breaks. Swimmers report that Dr Duddy’s team saved many of them from giving up!
All Madswimmer events are in aid of charity. The 24 hour swim benefitted the Lonely Road Foundation, an organisation that improves the lives of orphaned and vulnerable children. The 24 hour swim raised almost R40 000 for this cause.