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Vanes-Mari du Toit high-altitude dipping at 6,405 meters in altitude in the Himalayas on 12 May 2024
Madswimmer founder Jean Craven
Madswimmer 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
Madswimmers Charity Swims is nominated for the 2015 World Open Water Swimming Association WOWSA Awards, a recognition of outstanding men, women, performances and offerings around the globe
Madswimmer is organizing and participating in the 2017 Pan-American Colibrí Swim between Imperial Beach, California, USA and Playas de Tijuana Mexico, a 10 km 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

noun - Madswimmer is a registered charity that is centered around open water swimming challenges and high-altitude swim expeditions to raise funds for children's charities.

2016 Swims

The Highest Swim

Madswimmer 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 bioprened 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.

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 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 WOWSA Award 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.


Jean Craven, Hardi Wilkins and Mona Van Eeden

Charity Swims

Mount Ojos del Salado Swim

Completed Swims

  • 22 February 2015: Crossing Sterkfontein Dam South Africa with Jean Craven, Terry Bantock, Megan Harrington-Johnson, Nadia Bacchini, Emil Berning, Duncan Kukard and Milton Brest swam 18.15 km in 5 hours 16 minutes, crossing the full length of the Sterkfontein Dam. Eleven others did a relay. They were Mona van Eeden, Nadia Bacchini, Hardi Wilkins, Linda Main, Elaine Sinden, Dean Jones, Darren Madgwick, Georgina Dorelay, Chelsea Bosworth, Zia Hattingh, Jeandre Fourie, Wessel Jacobsz, Victoria Rose, Wilna Bonthuys and Kobie Odendaal. The team was supported by Johann Theron and raised R8,000 in aid of the SAVF Louis Hildebrandt Children’s Home in Volksrust.
  • 8 November 2014: The 48.5 km Swim for Nsumbu is an open water swimming event on Lake Tanganyika from Tanzania in the east to Zambia in the west. The charity swim created to bring attention to the challenges facing Lake Tanganyika – challenges caused by overfishing, climate change, poaching and general environmental degradation.Jean Craven was the only swimmer to complete the entire distance non-stop in 12 hours. The Madswimmer relay swimmers was: Megan Harrington-Johnson, Michiel le Roux, Milton Brest, Gary Isbister, Jessica Comana, Elaine Sinden, Linda Main, Robert Dunford, Shaun Davy, Marcel du Toit and Marius de la Rey.
  • 15 October 2012 - 21.1 km Red Sea crossing in 4 hours 55 minutes by Jean Craven, Robert Dunford and Michiel le Roux, supported by Johann Theron.
  • 21 Otober 2011 - 24.4 km Australasia to Asia, from Papua New Guinea to Indonesia (island of Papua) Jean Craven with support from Andrew “Long Shanks” Mclaggan
  • 24 September 2014: North America to South America by Jean Craven, Rob Dunford and Gerhard Zandberg who crossed 21.4 km in 6 hours 12 minutes across the Chagres River that forms the mainstay of the Panama Canal and is the natural split between North and South America. Michiel le Roux, Linda Main and Evan Feldman who swam a relay.



  • Bram Fischer Trust, launched by Nelson Mandela endeavours to raise funds to enable boys who would otherwise not be able to afford it, to attend Grey College.
  • The Children’s Hospital Trust was founded in 1994 as the independent Fundraising Arm of the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa when the Hospital was threatened with closure due to a lack of funding.
  • Foodbank South Africa is South Africa’s national foodbanking network. The section 21 not-for-profit company was established in 2009 and is a member of the Global Foodbanking Network.
  • HospiVision provides spiritual care, counselling, educational and trauma support to children and their families in health crisis.
  • Hope Through Action was specifically created in 2006 to bring about an imaginative and life changing initiative for young people in South Africa.
  • Jan Hofmeyer is a non-racial charity organisation registered with the Department of Social Development as an independent non-profit organization, to uplift the marginalised communities of Jan Hofmeyer, Vredepark and Vrededorp.
  • Miles for Mercia was started in 2014 as a ‘paying it forward’ initiative in aid of cerebral palsied individuals.
  • ORT SA Cape enrichs education in impoverished schools and communities focusing on critical educational challenges in Technology, Mathematics and Literacy.
  • SAVF renders welfare and welfare related services. This includes Child and youth care, statutory work, foster care and care in children’s homes. Developmental programmes, job creation and life enhancement programmes.
  • The Seal Swimming Trust identifies disadvantaged swimmers and swimming programmes and provides sustainable support in an attempt to nurture and promote new talent and to help bring swimming to disadvantaged communities.
  • WACDT (Waehuiskrans/Arniston Community Development Trust) supports local economic development, especially projects related to sustainable tourism, environmental tourism, sea life and programmes to conserve the unique ecology and heritage of Waenhuiskrans/Arniston.

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).

Great Shark Swim

The Great Shark Swim, a 100 km tandem swim of 20 swimmers, in the Agulhas Current off South Africa.

Double River Swim Challenge

The Double River Swim Challenge is a 2-day 41 km stage swim in the Bushmans River (26 km) and the Kariega River (15 km) on 7-8 December 2019.

The Sky Is The Limit

The Sky Is The Limit Video

External links