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Jean Craven

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Madswimmer by Jean Craven is a nominee for the 2017 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year, part of the WOWSA Awards, an annual recognition of outstanding men, women, performances and offerings around the globe sponsored by the World Open Water Swimming Association
Jean Craven's Madswimmers is nominated for the 2015 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year by the World Open Water Swimming Association for its WOWSA Awards, a recognition of outstanding men, women, performances and offerings around the globe
The first 34 km False Bay Relay Swim across False Bay from Pringle Bay to Buffels Bay near Cape Point was completed in 10 hours 2 minutes in April 2019 by swimmers Ram Barkai, Samantha Whelpton, Jean Craven, Kieron Palframan, Clinton Le Sueur and Patrick Wilke with escort pilots Derrick Fraser and Tony Lindeque. The 6-person charity relay started in Pringle Bay at 12.6°C water temperature and continued to drop across False Bay to 11°C water for a majority of the swim where the swimmers encountered seals, jellyfish, blue bottles, and a hammerhead shark deep below.
Jean Craven completed the 2017 Pan-American Colibrí Swim between Imperial Beach, California, USA and Playas de Tijuana in Tijuana, Mexico is a cross-border swim and example of Speedo diplomacy by a group of ocean swimmers from five nations with the purpose to raise awareness and funds for the Colibri Center for Human Rights in the Pacific Ocean

Jean Craven is a 42-year-old open water swimmer and high-altitude swimmer who is the founder of Mad Swimmer. He has obtained provincial colours for swimming, water polo and biathlon. He has also completed his Navy diving course with The Diver of the Year accolade and is a high-altitude swimmer and an accredited observer with the False Bay Swimming Association.

Professional Career

Director/Shareholder: Export Trading Group and Barak Fund. After studying accounting at the University of Stellenbosch Jean started his own business with friends. Later on in his career he worked for Rand Merchant Bank and Standard Bank. In 2008 he started up the Barak Fund and acquired a stake in Export Trading Group, both companies are in the agricultural market space.

2016 Madswimmer Swims


Lake Malawi Madswimmer Crossing


29 Madswimmers 25 km crossing of Lake Malawi in October 2016 in a big group swim.

The Highest Swim

The Highest Swim




Madswimmers doing high-altitude swimming at 5909m (19,486 feet) in a frozen lake on Mt Tres Cruces, a volcano in the Andes Mountains along the Argentina - Chile border in South America with the water temperature between 0.5 - 2ºC (42.9ºF - 45.6ºC). Jean Craven, Herman van der Westhuizen and Chris Marthinusen completed the 5-minute neoprened wild swim while Evan Feldman and Milton Brest swam in wetsuits and Robert Graaff and Juandre Human were unable to partake in the final swim due to medical restraints after a 6-hour hike up the volcano and a laborious creating of the small area to swim through the 20 cm thick ice covering.

Open Water Swimming Career

Dassen Island Challenge

Mount Kenya Swim

Lake Malawi Swim

Craven led a 25 km width-wise tandem relay across Lake Malawi, located between Malawi, Mozambique, and Tanzania, by a group of Madswimmers including Greig Bannatype, Robert Dunford, Samantha Whelpton, Duncan Kukard, Michiel le Roux, Craig Massey-Hicks, Brent Massey-Hicks, Robert Logan, Karen Graaff, Melanie Bedford-shaw, Nick Comana, Shirley Milne, Nena Logan, Douglas Livingstone, Haydon Von Maltitz, Alison Hartley, Cara Gough, Deon van Niekerk, Jessica Comana, Candice Wadey, Jacqueline Marshall, Charlie Luckock, Darren Madgewick, Michelle Walford, Keiman O'Flaherty, Kobie Odendaal, Travis Johnson, and Werner Whelpton.


28 Madswimmers 25 km crossing of Lake Malawi in October 2016 in a big group swim.

2016 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year Nominees

Madswimmer's charity swims were nominated for the 2016 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year by the World Open Water Swimming Association:

1. Barbados Open Water Swimming Festival with Kristina Evelyn & Zary Evelyn (Barbados)
2. Khitindra Chandra Baishya (Bangladesh)
4. Sven Eckardt (Germany)
4. India National Open Long Distance Swimming Championship Escort Rowers (India)
5. Margarita Llorens Bagur (Spain)
6. Igor Lukin (Russia)
6. Madswimmer by Jean Craven (South Africa)
8. Marc-Antoine Olivier (France)
9. Stephen Rouch (USA)
10. Jason Snell (Great Britain)
11. Christof Wandratsch (Germany)
12. Wild Swimming Brothers (Great Britain)

2016 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year Nomination

Madswimmer has been raising funds for charitable causes throughout its existence, raising a total of over US$600,000. This year, Madswimmer was particularly busy with four unique swims: the 6.9 km Pan-American Colibrí Crossing between California, USA and Tijuana, Mexico in May with 12 swimmers, the 94.6 km Balaeric Island Challenge, a four-day stage swim around the Spanish island of Ibiza in September with 10 swimmers, the 44 km Bazaruto Island Swim in Mozambique in October with 20 swimmers, and the 100 km Great Shark Swim in the fast-moving Agulhas Current from Park Rynie to Port Edward South Africa in December where the fastest 100 km non-stop ocean swim in history will be attempted. Madswimmer founder Jean Craven recruited charitable-minded swimmers from multiple countries to participate in different extreme pioneering swims. For continuing to care for children and their fellow citizens by providing funds and awareness to myriad causes, for designing, organizing and attempting unprecedented swims of unique nature in beautiful locations, for helping push the frontiers of physical and mental boundaries among their swimming contemporaries around the world, Madswimmer’s charity swims are a worthy nominees for the 2016 [[World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year].

2015 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year Nominees

The Madswimmers Charity Swims is nominated for the 2015 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year by the World Open Water Swimming Association along with the following nominees:

1. Axis Buoy by FINIS (U.S.A.)
2. Best Places To Swim by Orca (New Zealand)
4. Chillswim Coniston by Chillswim (Great Britain)
4. Find A Way by Diana Nyad (U.S.A.)
5. IOLITE by Stephen Holm, Raymond Rogers, Justin Peck (U.S.A.)
6. Lake Geneva Swimming Association by Ben Barham (Switzerland)
6. Madswimmers Charity Swims by Jean Craven (South Africa)
8. Samsung Boğaziçi Kıtalararası Yüzme Yarışı (Bosphorus Cross-Continental Swim) by the National Olympic Committee of Turkey (Turkey)
9. Sting No More™ by Dr. Angel Yanagihara (U.S.A.)
10. Swim Across America (U.S.A.)
11. SwimCross (Switzerland)
12. SwimEars® by Hans Henrik Heming (Denmark)
14. Swimmit by Ivan Peralta (Spain)
14. SwimTrack by Evan Morrison (U.S.A.)
15. WEST (Water World Swimming Therapy) (Israel)
16. World Ice Swimming Championships (Russia)

2015 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year Nomination

Madswimmers Charity Swims by Jean Craven
Madswimmer has been raising funds for good children causes throughout its existence. This year, their challenge was an unprecedented 45 km Swahili Channel Crossing between Zanzibar Island and the mainland of Tanzania. Founded by Jean Craven in 2009, Madswimmer have also crossed Lake Tanganyika (48 km 12 hours), Sterkfontein Dam crossing (16 km), Knysna Lagoon (14.5 km in winter) and Lewis Tarn, the highest lake in Africa on Mt Kenya (4800m above sea level), raising more than US$400,000 for its causes. Madswimmers Jean Craven, Juandre Human, Hardi Wilkins and Megan Harrington-Johnson crossed the highest water body in Africa, Lewis Tarn at 4600 meters above sea level high up on the slopes in Mount Kenya in 6.5°C water. It was a training swim for their Ojos Swim which is at 6,400 meter with 1-2°C water. For having to carry chain saws up at 6,400 meters to cut open the top ice layer, for raising money and awareness of various children charities, and for helping push forward the frontiers of high-altitude swims, the Madswimmers Charity Swims are a worthy nominee for the 2015 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.

Dead Sea Swim


Participating open water swimmers in the 16 km group tandem swim called the Dead Sea Swim between Jordan and Israel across the Dead Sea on 15 November 2016 that took 6 hours 9 minutes included Udi Erell, Adina Faur, Kimberley Chambers, Abigail Thomson, Avishag Turek, Ori Sela, Oded Rahav, Juandre Human, Jean Craven, Evan Feldman, Ben Enosh, Doron Amosi, Munqeth Mehyar, Brooke Penney, Dov Litvinoff, Nick Papageorge, Samuel Moran, Luc Chetboun, Karon Marx, Neil Macaskill, Herman van der Westhuizen, Hylton Lokitch, Gita Osrin, Ram Barkai, Erez Amir, Yussuf Muhammad Ahmad Matari, Olfat Haider, Rachel Sharon Lane, Qusai Abdullah khalaf Al-louzi, Ahmed khalil ahmad murad, and Jackie Cobell. Members were from South Africa's Madswimmer group and the Cyprus Israel Relay Team.

Pan-American Colibrí Swim

The Pan-American Colibrí Swim is a cross-border swim by a group of ocean swimmers from five nations with the purpose to raise awareness and funds for the Colibri Center for Human Rights in the Pacific Ocean between Imperial Beach near San Diego, California, USA and finishing at Playas de Tijuana in Tijuana, Mexico on 5 May 2016, starting near the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve. Its members include Kimberley Chambers (New Zealand), Oded Rahav (Israel), Jean Craven (South Africa), Antonio Argüelles, (Mexico), Nicolene Steynberg (South Africa), Rene Martínez Saenz (Mexico), Ben Enosh (Israel), Ryan Nelson (USA), Melissa King (USA), Kamini Moodley (South Africa), Neil Macaskill (South Africa), Luc Chetboun (Israel), Nora Toledano (Mexico), Mariel Hawley (Mexico), and Ben Enosh (USA/Israel). They will be supported and escorted by escort kayakers Dan Simonelli (USA), Billy Carlson (USA), Matt Donoghue (USA), Haden Ware (USA), Anna Lopez and the Out of the Boat Team (Mexico), Kala Sherman-Presser (USA), Tom Hecker (USA), and Kevin Eslinger (USA).

Pan-American Colibrí Swim Video


The 6.9 km 4 hour 4 minute Pan-American Colibrí Swim, a cross-border swim and charity swim in the Pacific Ocean from Imperial Beach near San Diego, California, USA to Playas de Tijuana in Tijuana, Mexico held on 5 May 2016 in 16°C (61°F) water. The Colibrí Swim members included Kimberley Chambers (New Zealand), Oded Rahav (Israel), Jean Craven (South Africa), Antonio Argüelles, (Mexico), Nicolene Steynberg (South Africa), Rene Martínez Saenz (Mexico), Ben Enosh (Israel/USA), Ryan Nelson (USA), Melissa King (USA), Nora Toledano (Mexico), Neil Macaskill (South Africa), Luc Chetboun (Israel), Dan Simonelli (USA), and Mariel Hawley (Mexico) with escort kayakers Tom Hecker (USA), Kevin Eslinger (USA), Billy Carlson (USA), Matt Donoghue (USA), Haden Ware (USA), Anna Lopez and the Out of the Boat Team (Mexico), and Kala Sherman-Presser (USA) as well as Madswimmer organizers Nicolene Steynberg and Kamini Moodley (both of South Africa).

The Great Shark Swim

He participated in the Great Shark Swim, a planned 100 km charity swim organised by Madswimmer along the fast Agulhas Current along the KwaZulu Natal Coast in South Africa. The team was stopped after 28.24 km and 9 hours 4 minutes due to stings by blue bottles on 2 December 2016.

2016 World's 50 Most Adventurous Open Water Men

Craven is named to the World's 50 Most Adventurous Open Water Men in 2016 (alphabetized by last name) by the World Open Water Swimming Association:

1. Dr. Doron Amosi, extreme relay/cross-border swimmer from Israel
2. Antonio Argüelles Díaz-González, channel swimmer and endurance athlete from Mexico
4. Cyril Baldock, marathon/channel swimmer from Australia
4. Ram Barkai, administrator, event organizer and ice swimmer from South Africa
5. John Batchelder, butterflying marathon swimmer from USA
6. Nejib Belhedi, marathon/stage/boat pull swimmer from Tunisia
6. Alexander Brylin, channel ice swimmer from Russia
8. Luc Chetboun, extreme relay/cross-border swimmer from Israel
9. Salvatore Cimmino, amputee advocate and marathon/extreme swimmer from Italy
10. Jean Craven, marathon/extreme swimmer from South Africa
11. Ned Denison, IMSHOF administrator and marathon/ice swimmer from Ireland
12. Craig Dietz, disabled open water swimmer from USA
14. Ben Enosh, extreme relay/cross-border swimmer from Israel/USA
14. Udi Erell, extreme relay/cross-border swimmer from Israel
15. Stephen Junk, channel swimmer from Australia
16. Henri Kaarma, event organizer and ice swimmer from Estonia
16. Ger Kennedy, ice, underwater and extreme swimmer from Ireland
18. Craig Lenning, marathon/channel/ice swimmer from the USA
19. Neil Macaskill, extreme/cross-border swimmer from South Africa
20. Pádraig Mallon, escort pilot, event organizer and marathon/channel/ice swimmer from Ireland
21. Ingemar Patiño Macarine, channel/marathon swimmer from the Philippines
22. Andrew Malinak, administrator and cold water/marathon/channel swimmer from the USA
24. Chris Marthinusen, extreme/high-altitude swimmer from South Africa
24. Patrick McKnight, marathon/channel swimmer from the USA
25. Allan McLeland, Peak and Pond swimmer/climber from the USA
26. Darren Miller, channel swimmer and event director from the USA
26. Rohan More, marathon/channel swimmer from India
28. Gullupilli Narhari, extreme relay swimmer from India
29. Matías Ola, event organizer and ice/extreme swimmer from Argentina
40. Kieron Palframan, ice/extreme swimmer from South Africa
41. James Pittar, blind marathon/channel swimmer from Australia
42. Javier Mérida Prieto, disabled Triple Crown swimmer from Spain
44. Lewis Pugh OIG, ocean advocate and ice/extreme swimmer from the UK
44. Oded Rahav, extreme relay/cross-border swimmer from Israel
45. Stephen Redmond, channel/marathon swimmer from Ireland
46. Adrian Sarchet, marathon/channel swimmer from Guernsey
46. Ori Sela, extreme relay/cross-border swimmer from Israel
48. Dan Simonelli, coach/guide/observer and marathon/channel swimmer from the USA
49. Paramvir Singh, extreme relay swimmer from India
40. Albert Sobirov, ice swimmer from Russia
41. Petar Stoychev, marathon/channel/ice/Olympic swimmer from Bulgaria
42. Ryan Stramrood, ice/extreme swimmer from South Africa
44. Martin Strel, marathon/stage swimmer from Slovenia
44. Dr. Otto Thaning, channel/marathon swimmer from South Africa
45. Jacques Tuset, prison island swimmer from France
46. Toks Viviers, ice/extreme swimmer from South Africa
46. Adam Walker, coach, event organizer, and channel swimmer from England
48. Christof Wandratsch, event organizer and ice/marathon/channel/professional swimmer from Germany
49. Brenton Williams, event organizer and butterfly ocean swimmer from South Africa
50. Herman van der Westhuizen, extreme high-altitude swimmer from South Africa

Antarctica Ice Kilometer Swim


Heading through the Southern Ocean en route to Antarctica to the Antarctica Ice Kilometer Swim

44-year-old Samantha Whelpton of South Africa successfully competes in the Antarctica Ice Kilometer Swim held on 24 November 2018 in Port Lockroy along the Antarctic Peninsula together with 41-year-old Alexander Brylin of Russia, 55-year-old Yunfeng Wang of China, 44-year-old Leszek Naziemiec of Poland, 52-year-old Paolo Chiarino of Italy, 54-year-old Andrey Agarkov of Russia, and 51-year-old Sergio Salomone of Argentina.
45-year-old Clinton Le Sueur of South Africa, 46-year-old Diego López Dominguez of Spain, 42-year-old Wyatt Song of Australia, 42-year-old Petar Stoychev of Bulgaria, 25-year-old Victoria Mori of Argentina, 46-year-old Madswimmer founder Jean Craven of South Africa, and the 61-year-old International Ice Swimming Association founder Ram Barkai of South Africa completed the Antarctica Ice Kilometer Swim in Mikkelsen Bay in the Southern Ocean along the Antarctic Peninsula on 25 November 2018.

External links