Mt Ojos del Salado

Press release 17 June 2015: Swimming the highest water body in Africa

Madswimmer hopes to do South Africa proud to attempt a world first

On 22 June 2015 four South African Madswimmers will swim across the highest water body in Africa, Harris Tarn, on the slopes of Mt Kenya.

They are Jean Craven, Juandre Human, Hardi Wilkins and Megan Harrington-Johnson. Water temperatures are expected to just above freezing.

This will be training for Madswimmer’s main swim in December on Mt Ojos del Salado in Chile, the highest lake in the world at 6400m above sea level. The Ojos swim might be a world first attempt where two extremes, altitude and cold, will be combined and chain saws might be used to cut open ice.

Expert medical professional, Dr Sean Gottschalk, who accompanied world famous Lewis Pugh on his recent frosty swimming expedition in Tibet will also accompany Madswimmer to Mt Ojos. He specializes on altitude acclimatization and hypothermia treatment.

Swimming of the Harris Tarn on Mt Kenya will be a deal breaker test to determine how swimmers will cope with the altitude and cold they can expect on Mt Ojos swim.

Madswimmer is a South African non-profit company that was founded by Jean Craven in 2009 after he won a R100 000 wager to swim accros the Strait of Gibraltar, connecting Europe to Africa.  Jean completed that swim with friend, Tim Zhiel. Feeling sorry for taking betting monies from their friends, they decided to donate the money to charity and Madswimmer was born.

Since then Madswimmer has successfully completed all 6 recognised intercontinental swims, Jean Craven himself becoming the first person ever to put all 6 under his belt.

These death-defying exploits have not gone unnoticed. Recognition has grown, as have the donations. Since that first swim, Madswimmer has raised more than $300 000 for various charitable causes, all intended to inspire hope and enable opportunity in children’s lives. The initiative has evolved to become bigger than any individual, bigger even than the sum of its parts. Yet we still value the individual: each swimmer, each sponsor and every beneficiary.

With each swim, Madswimmer invests its time and money, for charity. We put ourselves at risk; we conduct endless research and investigate meticulously; we sacrifice a lot for these swims, for charity. None of us are saints. We’re normal everyday people out to prove what normal everyday people can do when they put their minds to helping others.

Our hearts are anchored in South Africa. We will cross the deepest oceans to promote development here. In transforming ourselves in the process, we like to think we’re transforming our country from the inside-out.

These swims are dangerous. But the danger is a drawcard. The more dangerous the swim, the more we, as individuals, need to invest. In a life-threatening swim, we invest everything. If we don’t, how can we expect donors to invest in us?

Madswimmer hopes to do South Africa proud to attempt a world first by swimming lake Ojos del Salado in Chile in December. Swimming of Lake Harris Tarn in Kenya on 22 June will be the start of this challenging expedition.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.