From Openwaterpedia
Theodore Yach, landing on Three Anchor Bay, on the cover of the April 2016 issue of Open Water Swimming Magazine after crossing Robben Island for the 100th time on his Century Swim, each ratified by the Cape Long Distance Swimming Association
Cape Town Swimming
A Journal of the Cape Long Distance Swimming Association

noun - CLDSA are the initials for the Cape Long Distance Swimming Association - the primary open water swimming authority to regulate and record long distance sea swims in the Western Cape, South Africa. It has a growing membership base united by a love of sea swimming. The organisation promotes the sport of open water swimming and acts as an information resource for all swimmers.


The mission of the CLDSA is to:

  • Authenticate and record-keep long-distance swims in the Western Cape
  • Recognise and celebrate the achievements of its members
  • Highlight Cape Town as an open water swimming destination
  • Act as an information resource for long-distance, open water swimming in the Western Cape and the rest of South Africa
  • Network with local and international open water swimming organisations
  • Promote and encourage long-distance, open water swimming in general


The Cape Long Distance Swimming Association was formed in 1969 largely as a result of interest generated in long distance swimming by the Robben Island to Woodstock race which was held in March of that year. A small group of swimmers and officials decided it was necessary to form a body to officiate and record all long distance swims in the Cape. The constitution laid down the basic rules of the sport which conform with today's international FINA rules.

During the 1970's two races were organised from Fish Hoek to Muizenberg but apart from this, the Association's sole function remained officiating swims.

In the 1980's a group of swimmers from the Atlantic seaboard joined the committee and numerous open water events were organised, many continuing on an annual basis until the present. People such as Tony Scalabrino, Eddie and Anthony Cassar, Barry Cutler and Chris Barnard kept the Association growing and six years ago a national body was formed in order to select and take swimmers to the World Championships.

The exploits of South African swimmers has been documented in a soft-cover book Open Water Swimming in South Africa, A Journal of the Cape Long Distance Swimming Association, compiled by Tony Sellmeyer. The book is in its third edition and is an inspirational journal on Open Water Swimming, containing articles, records, history, interesting stories, and much more.

Founding Members

Founder members were Dennis Pearson, Coenie van Eyssen, Frank Nielsen, John Pagden and Peter Bales, with surfing doyen John Whitmore as President.

Swim For Hope

The CLDSA is the officiating governing body over the Swim For Hope, a 8 km ocean swim around Cape Point.

External Links