Robben Island crossing has been an epic swim for many years. The Swim is held annually to symbolise South Africa's Freedom Day and Democracy on 27 April 1994. The Freedom Swim was founded by Ram Barkai in 2000 as the pivotal annual event in South Africa Cold Open Water Swimming.
The swim is known as one of the hardest extreme cold open water swims in the world. The swim offers an unparalleled challenge to open water swimmers in South Africa and around the world. It combines the beauty and challenge of Robben Island and Table Mountain, both world-renowned sites. The swim brings together a unique mix of athletes, elite swimmers, and regular cold-water swimmers, young and old from all over South Africa.
The swim is done in the water channel between Robben Island and Blouberg. The main extreme factor for open water swimmers is the water temperature which is usually around 13C / 55.4F. Since it is open to the vast Atlantic Ocean, swimmers frequently experience swell and chop similar to the English Channel.
The FSWS was born as the result of the world crisis in 2020 created by the Covid-19 pandemic. I firmly believe that every crisis presents an opportunity to adapt and innovate.
The Freedom Swim Wave Series focuses on reducing the mass gathering of people and the safety of swimmers. Therefore we decided to break down the annual event to a series of smaller swims, with 5 to 15 swimmers. Each Wave results are recorded and conditions are measured. The Series season starts at 1-May every year and ends on the 27-April the following year. Exactly on Freedom Day.
With each Wave, results are added to the annual event records and sorted by time and age groups. Each swimmer will be able to see his/her standing in the results as the Wave progresses. At the end of the year, an awards ceremony will be held to celebrate the season and awards the winners of the Freedom Swim Wave Series.