Cape Long Distance Swimming Association

From Openwaterpedia
Peter Bales, chairman and founding member of the Cape Long Distance Swimming Association
Cape Town Swimming
A Journal of the Cape Long Distance Swimming Association
Maura Sanderoff in middle with Delle Henry on left and Theodore Yach on right after completing a 7.5 km Robben Island to Bloubergstrand crossing in Cape Town, South Africa in March 2014
Dr. Otto Thaning presents open water swimming stories at Cold Water Capers, an online speakers series on 9 February 2021

noun - The Cape Long Distance Swimming Association (CLDSA) is the only official governing body to officiate over solo open water swims in Cape Town waters in South Africa, and elsewhere in the country on request.


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.


Cape Recife Swim

The Cape Long Distance Swimming Association sanctioned the unprecedented 11 km rounding of Cape Recife, the southeastern tip of the African continent on 28 February 2015 by PJ Duffy (3 hours 17 minutes), Rudi Schoeman (3 hours 18 minutes), Iain Geddes (3 hours 21 minutes), Kevin Grey (3 hours 23 minutes), Brenton Williams (3 hours 33 minutes), and Richden Jute (3 hours 34 minutes). The escort paddler was Terry Olivier.

External Links