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Monday, November 14, 2011

Saving Private Rhino With Theodore Yach In The Open Water

30 years ago, Paul Asmuth ruled the professional marathon swimming world and the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim was a year away from starting in its modern-day format. Shelley Taylor-Smith had yet to enter the open water and Penny Dean still held both the English Channel (7:40) and Catalina Channel (7:15) records. The King of the Channel reigned with 22 crossings and only 17 people crossed the Channel that year, including the first three-way crossing by Jon Erikson.

On land, Ronald Reagan was elected President, Charles, Prince of Wales married Lady Diana Spencer, the word ’Internet’ was used for the first time and Microsoft released MS DOS together with the first IBM PC.

The board game, Trivial Pursuit made its debut as did MTV and the POST IT note. Scientists identified the AIDS virus and divers found the wreck of the Titanic. Anwar Sadat, President of Egypt, was assassinated and France unveiled the first high speed TGV train service.

Lionel Richie, Bruce Springsteen, Rod Stewart, and Stevie Wonder were hits as punk rock, Dallas, Dynasty, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Chariots of Fire provided global entertainment.

P.W. Botha ruled South Africa while many of its future leaders, including Nelson Mandela, were incarcerated on Robben Island. 1981 was also the year that Theodore Yach made his first crossing from Robben Island to Blouberg. 30 years later, on December 4th, Theodore will attempt his unprecedented 63rd crossing.

Under the auspices of the Cape Long Distance Swimming Association and in conjunction with Aquila Private Game Reserve’s ‘Saving Private Rhino’ initiative, Theodore will swim to save Africa’s rhinos.

Despite the efforts of many, statistics from South Africa National Parks show that 341 rhinos have been poached in 2011, compared to a record total of 333 in 2010. Saving Private Rhino was established after a dehorning of rhino at the Aquila Private Game Reserve to ensure the future conservation of Africa’s rhino and wildlife heritage.

A lot has changed in the past 3 decades but 30 years and over 60 marathon swims after that first crossing, Theodore is still going the distance, hoping others can help him realize his efforts to help save the rhino.

Copyright © 2011 by Open Water Source

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