Kevin Richards

From Openwaterpedia

Kevin Richards is a 52-year-old South African pool and open water swimmer and life saver. He was a Triple Springbok as a competitive swimmer, lifesaver, and triathlete and son of the renowned Mally Richards.

Hailing from Uitenhage, near Port Elizabeth, Richards was a South African backstroke champion and Springbok triathlete as well as a surf lifesaver national champion. He swam for the Uitenhage SC and matriculated from Muir College in 1981, and swam for the University of Houston, Texas and served as a coach.

Open Water Swimming Career

Coaching Career

Richards coached triathlon professionally in France in 1996 before becoming the South African National Triathlon Team Coach from 1997 to 1998. From 1999 until 2002 he was the Head coach of the University of Port Elizabeth Swimming Club. Kevin then spent 10 years in the UK and was closely involved with a number of major triathlon and open water swimming events. He returned to South Africa in 2012 and has become involved with swim coaching as well as the organising of events.

Today Kevin is based in Port Elizabeth and coaches masters swimmers, open water swimmers, triathletes as well as general fitness swim training for both adults and teenagers.


  • 1974: Won S.A. Primary Schools U/10 Diving Championships
  • 1977:S.A. Ironman Nipper Champion
  • 1979: Won Enduro Swim from Redhouse to Swartkops
  • 1978/79 and 1979/80: Member of U.A.S.C. team which won E.P. first league water polo championships
  • 1980-1981: Selected for S.A. High Schools WaterPolo A Team
  • 1979-80-81-82 and 84: Won Redhouse River Mile
  • 1979: Captain of E.P. Water polo team at National Championships
  • 1980 and 1981: Member of U.A.S.C. team which won Durban-Grosvenor Inter-Club Water Polo Tournament
  • 1981: Coached E.P. Water Polo Team at National Championships.
  • 1981: Presented with E.P. A.S.A. Meritorious Service Award
  • 1984: Officiated as Referee at National Champion­ships
  • 1981: Selected for S.A. Life Saving Trials
  • 1982: Presented with Uitenhage Rotary Club Youth Merit Award
  • 1982: Awarded Swimming scholarship at University of Houston, U.S.A.
  • 1984: Won Victor Ludorum at S.A. Defence Force swimming Championships
  • Held South African 100m and 200m backstroke records. Won 200 Individual medley and 400 Freestyle S.A. championships, finished 2nd in 100 m and 200 m S.A. backstroke
  • 1985: Won Durban Mainstay 3.5 km Surf swim
  • 1987: Won Redhouse River Mile for the sixth time.

Open Water Swimming Career

Richards won the 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1984 and 1987 SPAR Redhouse River Mile. The SPAR Redhouse River Mile, the oldest open water swim in Africa, had been held in Redhouse on the Swartkops River in South Africa since 1924. His father is Mally Richards who has participated in the event since 1947.

SPAR River Festival

The SPAR River Festival, previously called the SPAR Redhouse River Mile was started in 1924 by AE Murrell in Redhouse on the Swartkops River in South Africa and has been held ever since. Roy Gregory was the inaugural winner and first River Champion.

It is the country's oldest open water swimming race. There are a series of activities including a triathlon, running, biking, and open water swimming events. The open water swim is one-mile. Categories include Wetsuit/Disabled, Men, and Women.

River Champions

1924 Roy Gregory (man) Redhouse (team)
1925 Geoff Phillip (man) Redhouse (team)
1926 Ary Snetler (man) Uitenhage (team)
1927 Doc McWilliams (man) Redhouse (team)
1928 Doc McWilliams (man) Redhouse (team)
1929 Ary Snetler (man) Redhouse (team)
1930 Ary Snetler (man) Redhouse (team)
1931 Doc McWilliams (man) Redhouse (team)
1932 Doc McWilliams (man) Redhouse (team)
1933 H Hammond (man) Uitenhage (team)
1934 D McDowell (man) Institute (team)
1935 Otto Schweltzer (man) Redhouse (team)
1936 Peter Elliot (man) Redhouse (team)
1937 Peter Elliot (man) Redhouse (team)
1938 Otto Schweltzer (man) Redhouse (team)
1939 R Cherrington (man) Redhouse (team)
1940 D Walker (man) East London (team)
1941 No event due to War
1942 No event due to War
1943 No event due to War
1944 No event due to War
1945 No event due to War
1946 Peter Elliot (man) Uitenhage (team)
1947 Peter Elliot (man) Uitenhage (team)
1948 Albert Boliter (man) Uitenhage (team)
1949 Ernie Nicholson (man) Uitenhage (team)
1950 Ernie Nicholson (man) Uitenhage (team)
1951 Ernie Nicholson (man) Uitenhage (team)
1952 Derek Staples (man) Port Elizabeth (team)
1953 Peter Schulze (man) Port Elizabeth (team)
1954 Derek Staples (man) Port Elizabeth (team)
1955 Derek Staples (man) Port Elizabeth (team)
1956 Derek Staples (man) Port Elizabeth (team)
1957 Derek Staples (man Uitenhage (team)
1958 Francois Mai (man) ?
1959 Derek Staples (man) Redhouse (team)
1960 Geoff Grylls (man) Institute (team)
1961 Geoff Grylls (man) Redhouse (team)
1962 Geoff Grylls (man) Institute (team)
1963 Geoff Grylls (man) Institute (team)
1964 Geoff Grylls (man) Institute (team)
1965 Geoff Grylls (man) Institute (team)
1966 Brian Elliot (man) Institute (team)
1967 Brian Elliot (man) Institute (team)
1968 Geoff Bolton (man) Redhouse (team)
1969 Brian Elliot (man) Barracuda (team)
1970 Brian Elliot (man) Barracuda (team)
1971 David Stones (man) Barracuda (team)
1972 Derek Elliot (man) Barracuda (team)
1973 Derek Elliot (man) Barracuda (team)
1974 Peter Horwitz (man) Barracuda (team)
1975 Brett Bugler (man) East London (team)
1976 Andre Kotze (man) PEA (team)
1977 Brett Bugler (man) East London (team)
1978 Mark Edge (man) Aquabear (team)
1979 Kevin Richards (man) Aquabear (team)
1980 Kevin Richards (man) Aquabear (team)
1981 Kevin Richards (man) Aquabear (team)
1982 Kevin Richards (man) Aquabear (team)
1983 Sean Mulvey (man) Aquabear (team)
1984 Kevin Richards (man) Aquabear (team)
1985 Jacques Coetzer (man) PEA (team)
1986 Anthony Aubin (man) Aquabear (team)
1987 Kevin Richards (man) Belinda McFadzean (woman) Aquabear (male team) Aquabear (female team)
1988 Jacques Coetzer (man) Chantal Tutton (woman) Aquabear (male team) Aquabear (female team)
1989 Andrew Turner (man) Nicki Hutchison (woman) Aquabear (male team) PEA (female team)
1990 Andrew Turner (man) Nicki Hutchison (woman) PEA (male team) PEA (female team)
1991 Pierre de Roulbaix (man) Amanda Grendon (woman) Aquabear (male team) PEA (female team)
1992 Pierre de Roulbaix (man) Amanda Grendon (woman) Aquabear (male team) PEA (female team)
1993 Greg Kahn (man) Jeanine Steenkamp (woman) Aquabear (male team) PEA (female team)
1994 Ryk Neethling (man) Karen Allers (woman) PEA (male team) Aquabear (female team)
1995 Mark Harris / Greg Kahn (man) Joannie Coetzer (woman) Aquabear (male team) Aquabear (female team)
1996 Ryko Markgraaff (man) Honey King / Joannie Coetzer (woman) Aquabear (male team) Aquabear (female team)
1997 Haydn Holmes (man) Tracey Barber (woman) Aquabear (male team) PEA (female team)
1998 Kyle Main (man) Dominique Donner (woman)) PEA (male team) PEA (female team)
1999 Kyle Main (man) Elzet Pretorius (woman) PEA (male team PEA (female team)
2000 Kyle Main (man) Velia Janse van Rensburg (woman) PEA (team)
2001 Kyle Main (man) Natalie Snodgrass (woman) PEA (female team)
2002 Nathan Lavery (man) Velia Janse van Rensburg (woman) UPE (team)
2003 Nathan Lavery (man) Velia Janse van Rensburg (woman) UPE (team)
2004 Matthew Bouman (man) Velia Janse van Rensburg (woman) Aquabear (team)
2005 Philip Kuh (man) Velia Janse van Rensburg (woman) Aquabear (team)
2006 Chris Stottelaar (man) Velia Janse van Rensburg (woman) PEA (team)
2007 Byron Lockett (man) Velia Janse van Rensburg (woman) SCATS (team)
2008 Byron Lockett (man) Velia Janse van Rensburg (female) Aquabear (team)
2009 Chad Ho (man) Dominic Dryding (woman) Aquabear (team)
2010 Chad Ho (man) Dominic Dryding (woman) Aquabear (team)
2011 Chad Ho (man) Carmel Billson (woman) Aquabear (team)
2012 Troyden Prinsloo (man) Jessica Roux (woman) PEA (team)

Greatest Watermen in Open Water Swimming History

He was named as one of the Greatest Watermen in Open Water Swimming History by the World Open Water Swimming Association in 2015:

1. Zacharias Alexandrakis (Macedonia): Marathon swimming enthusiast, open water swimming promoter, lifeguard, swimming coach and lifesaving leader.
2. Antonio Argüelles Díaz-González (Mexico): Triathlete, ultra-endurance athlete, channel swimmer and author
3. Stathis Avramidis, Ph.D. (Greece): Researcher, swimmer, author, speaker, and lecturer
4. Peter Bales (South Africa): Channel swimmer, marathon swimmer, governing body administrator and escort pilot
5. Vito Bialla (U.S.A.): Extreme relay swimmer, professional sailor, and escort pilot of the Farallon Islands, California
6. Paul Blackbeard (South Africa): World-class pool swimmer, ocean swimmer, and life saver
7. Lord Byron (Great Britain): Poet, author and pioneering sea swimmer
8. Dick Campion (Australia): Olympian, coach, trainer, author, promoter, and professional marathon swimmer
9. Daniel Eulogio Carpio Massioti (Peru): Four-time Olympian, Channel swimmer, professional racer, and solo swimmer
10. Bruckner Chase (U.S.A.): marathon swimmer, ocean advocate, ambassador to the disabled, filmmaker, paddler and surf lifesaver
11. Buster Crabbe (U.S.A.): Olympic champion, ice swimmer, promoter, and movie star of 3 pulp fiction heroes
12. Guy Delage (France): Ocean swimmer, extreme adventurer, diver, submariner, and sailor
13. Marcos Díaz (Dominican Republic): Marathon racer, extreme swimmer, surfer, governing body administrator, and event director
14. Shannon Eckstein (Australia): Ironman lifesaver, paddler, kayaker, surf skier and ocean swimmer
15. Ian Emberson (Kauai, U.S.A.): Channel swimmer, original Ironman triathlete, ocean swimmer, event director, and triathlete
16. George Freeth (Hawai, U.S.A.): Ocean swimmer, surfer, paddler, and lifesaver organizer
17. Alfréd Hajós (Hungary): Olympic champion, professional racer, and architect
18. Trevor Hendy (Australia): Ironman lifesaver, paddler, kayaker, surf skier and ocean swimmer
19. Colin Hill (Great Britain): Ice swimmer, Channel swimmer, television commentator, and event director
20. Craig Hummer (U.S.A.): Competitive swimmer, kayaker, paddler, Ironman lifesaver, and Olympic television commentator
21. Ky Hurst (Australia): Ocean swimmer, two-time Olympian, body surfer extraordinaire, and champion life saver
22. Zhang Jian (China): Marathon swimmer, Channel swimmer, ice swimmer and university sports director
23. Captain Tim Johnson (U.S.A.): Marathon swimmer, author, professor, shark cage designer, analyst, and historian
24. Duke Kahanamoku (Hawaii): Ocean swimmer, Olympic champion, surfing legend and ambassador of aloha
25. Grant Kenny (Australia): Ironman lifesaver, paddler, kayaker, surf skier and ocean swimmer
26. Guy Leech (Australia): Ironman lifesaver, paddler, kayaker, surf skier and ocean swimmer
27. Luiz Eduardo Carneiro da Silva de Souza Lima (Brazil): Two-time Olympian, stand-up paddler, ocean swimming coach, pioneering ocean swimmer and promoter
28. Pádraig Mallon (Ireland): Marathon swimmer, Channel swimmer, ice swimmer, event organizer, promoter and triathlete
29. Vojislav Mijić (Serbia): Marathon swimmer, professional racer, solo pioneer and event organizer
30. Masayuki Moriya (Japan): Coach, channel swimmer, event organizer, clinician, and governing body administrator
31. Keo Nakama (Hawaii/U.S.A.): World champion, world record holder, pioneering ocean swimmer, event organizer and coach
32. Aaron Peirsol (U.S.A.): 7-time Olympic medalist, surfer, lifeguard, coach, and body surfer extraordinaire
33. Lewis Pugh (Great Britain): Channel swimmer, marathon swimmer, ocean advocate, ambassador, author, and speaker
34. Kevin Richards (South Africa): Competitive swimmer, triathlete, surf lifesaver, and coach
35. Philip Rush (New Zealand): Channel swimmer, marathon swimmer, professional racer, escort pilot, channel administrator, and fire fighter
36. Wayne Riddin (South Africa): Competitive swimmer, race director, aquapreneur, coach and promoter
37. Veljko Rogošić (Croatia): Two-time Olympic swimmer, professional racer, solo pioneer, swimming ambassador and marathon swimmer
38. Kenny Rust (Hawaii, U.S.A.): Ocean swimmer, lifeguard, aquapreneur, and event safety official
39. Ori Sela (Israel): Sea swimmer, coach, therapist, pioneer relay swimmer and aquapreneur
40. Borut Strel (Slovenia): Coach, swimmer, clinician, planner and logistic expert
41. Martin Strel (Slovenia): Channel swimmer, marathon swimmer, extreme adventurer, film protagonist, and camp clinician
42. Georgios-Ioannis Tsianos, M.D., Ph.D. (Greece): Research scientist, physician, expedition medic and Channel swimmer
43. Christof Wandratsch (Germany): Channel swimmer, professional racer, solo pioneer, ice swimming record holder and event promoter
44. Captain Matthew Webb (Great Britain): Channel swimmer, extreme adventurer, and professional racer
45. Johnny Weissmuller (U.S.A.): 4-time Olympic champion and movie star with a household name
46. Alick Wickham (Solomon Islands): Ocean swimmer, high diver, body surfing promoter, surfboard shaper, and freestyle ambassador
47. Patrick Winkler (Brazil): Competitive swimmer, ocean swimmer, stand-up paddler, race promoter and publisher of The Swim Channel Magazine
48. Jabez Wolffe (Great Britain): Channel aspirant and coach in the early generations of channel swimming
49. Doug Woodring (Hong Kong/U.S.A.): Marine environment ambassador, ecology advocate, aquapreneur, ocean event director, paddler, diver, and ocean swimmer
50. David Yudovin (U.S.A.): Channel swimmer, marathon swimmer, aquapreneur, benefactor and mariner

External Links