Amica de Jager celebrates hat-trick of BellBuoy titles
Gary Albertyn takes men's event in Mediterranean-like conditions at Pollok Beach
Amica de Jager made it a hat-trick of wins as she stormed to the line to claim the overall title at the 10th annual Jendamark BellBuoy challenge at Pollok Beach on Saturday morning.
De Jager, 20, from St Francis Bay, was in a heated battle with men’s individual winner Gary Albertyn as the pair were separated by a couple of seconds to claim first and second place overall respectively in the open water race, which also doubled as the first round of the Open Water World Tour.
With a field of 170 swimmers taking to the calm Nelson Mandela Bay waters for the opening round of the Open Water World Series, it was De Jager who showed her class finishing the race in a time of 57 mins and 42 secs.
She was followed home in the women's section by Lindi Terblanche, who finished over 10 minutes back in a time of 1:09,50 while Andrea Fos Cobrera, from Spain, claimed third (1:09,51).
Albertyn finished only a few paces behind de Jager with a time of 57:48, followed by second-place male Kyle White who beat Abdul Malick Railoun by three 10ths of second, after both men finished in a time of 59:27.
De Jager said she was pleased to claim her third title and a new women’s record time at one of her favourite events on the open water calendar.
I just tried to go out as hard as I can at the beginning and just keep the pace for as long as I couldAmica de Jager talks about her race
“I just tried to go out as hard as I could at the beginning and just keep the pace for as long as I could. Conditions were absolutely amazing out there today, I don’t think we could have asked for better,” de Jager said.
“I found it quite easy going out. On the way back, there were a few bumps, but I just knew I had to keep it together in the last few metres.”
Albertyn, 50, from Pretoria, echoed her sentiments, saying conditions had been perfect for swimming.
“It was a nice swim, I went out trying to have a comfortable pace, as I turned the bellbuoy. I could see Amica ahead of me, so I sped up a bit, just to try and catch her, and see if I could stick with her, which I did for most of the way back,” he said.
Taking his second win in his seventh Bellbuoy Challenge, Albertyn said: “I will be back again next year, this is such a great race and very well organised and added to that the amazing crowd support always makes for a fun day.”
The Open Water World Tour, which made its first stop in the Bay, sees eight events take place in various unique locations across the globe.
OWWT project manager Oscar Rubio said the tour was aimed at giving swimmers, of all skill levels and ages, the opportunity to become professional swimmers, albeit just for the day.
“Every event has its own unique characteristics. No two races are the same. Some races will be 5km, others 10km, while some will have multiple stages.
“Our aim is to get people interested in swimming and if they see an an advertisement of our events they can say I want to take part in that race,” Rubio said.
Rubio added that the race will be part of the OWWT for the next three years with the hope of more events being added to the calendar in the future.
Men: Gary Albertyn (57:48), Kyle White (59:27.4), Abdul Malick Railoun (59:27.7), Henrich Vorster (59:42), Slater Black (59:46)
Women: Amica de Jager (57:42), Lindi Terblanche (1:09.50), Andrea Fos Cobrera (1:09.51), Paige Black (1:09.52), Chane de Jager (1:10.29)