Madshout Edition 2 – August 2015


When did you join Madswimmer? 

I was supposed to do the Red Sea swim in 2012 but when plans fell apart for getting a shark cage in place, I bailed! Jean always says sharks are like barking dogs, you just have to learn how to handle them. Ja, right, I simply don’t want to find out, thanks! So then the next swim involved another ancient predator, Mr Croc, and again I bailed. The last opportunity for a continental swim, Bering Strait, only involved the Walrus, which, as an average ZA brah, seemed quite acceptable. And before I knew, I went from being a pure terrestrial to an ice swimmer (well, almost!).


Which Mad swims have you done? 

Bering, Sterkfontein and Mt Kenya

Which swim was the most difficult and why? 

As intimidating as Bering was, Mt Kenya was pure pain because I suffered from mountain sickness. Anyone who’s had this will tell you it’s like tick bite fever except that you are also half blind while taking a quick dip in a glacial lake! It probably helped with the cold but purely because I wasn’t “quite” there.

Why did you get yourself into this?  

It’s all about helping children. With Madswimmer one can actually make a difference. It helps to get perspective and steer away from your own issues in life.

If sub temperature water doesn’t scare you, what do?  

Failure. Not as in making mistakes, but missing the plot. One has to work it out for oneself: what are the most important things in life.

Character of Madswimmer? 

Big heart, big accomplishment, big adventure

Message to others:

Madswimmer is a fantastic fraternity and the payoff is incredible; you’ll feel like a champ and make a kid smile. Just do it!


When did you join Madswimmer? 

February of 2014 – about 6 months before the Bering swim.

Which Mad swims have you done? 

Bering and lake Taganyika

Tell us about the Bering Strait Swim:  

If it was an easy swim, many more people would have done it . It’s difficult because it is so remote. Your support and infrastructure is primitive. It’s dangerous because of the hectic currents, as well as the fact that it is bloody freezing, if the Russians and the walruses didn’t grab you. Let alone the fact that the locals are very limited in terms of capabilities for such an event . They are still looking for the previous gent who attempted this …..

If sub temperature water and water predators don’t scare you, what do? 

These conditions didn’t scare us because we were a team with a dream . The common purpose and sheer determination of the guys, coupled with the experience and grit of the other members made it easy for me to do my part.

Character of Madswimmer? 

Madswimmer is outstanding because they are based on the fundamentals of hope and belief . The funds they raise give many kids some form of hope.

Message to others:

Mad swimmers are ordinary people. You can do it too. Congrats to Jean for his relentless pursuit of the impossible.


1. Knysna Swim, July 2015

Tracey Gouws: “I really regret that swim” said no one ever! My first Madswimmer swim – loved it!!

Russell Gaynor: It was a day of firsts for me: First time swimming in the Lagoon, first time swimming that distance and first time swimming with Madswimmer. And definitely not the last! An absolutely fantastic swim – highly recommended.

Ralph West: It was an awesome swim. I suppose as in many of the swims I do, negotiating the Channel will become easier with future Knysna Redbridge 2 Heads events.

Charlene de Souza: This was my first Madswimmer experience and one that words cannot describe. The swim was awesome but the people made it even more than awesome. This was definitely the first of many for me.

Delle Henry: Loved the swim despite the cold and choppy conditions…that’s after all the challenge we love, especially without wetsuits!

Marissa Brits: It was the first swim with Madswimmer for me and my daughter Minke. Quoting from the movie Chasing Mavericks: “If you push the limits, the limits will push back”. I will do it again tomorrow.


2. Mt Kenya altitude swim, June 2015

Megan Harrington Johnson: Most probably one of the hardest things I have ever done. And I have done some crazy things. Nobody told me that we were literally going to be climbing a mountain! I was expecting a walk in the park. The altitude was difficult. I noticed that as we climbed, my resting heart rate doubled. The swim itself was freezing but exhilarating and left me with something unlike anything I have ever felt before.

Juandre Human: The challenge was to find out how one’s body would react to the cold water at an altitude of 4700m. Time constraints caused us to climb faster than we should, which left us with little time to acclimatise. Hence a challenging swim! Summiting was great. The team’s strength and willpower was exceptional. It was an awesome experience.