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Friday, January 18, 2013

SPAR River Festival From 1924 To The Present

The first SPAR Redhouse River Mile (now called the SPAR River Festival) was held in South Africa in 1924.

The visionary of the event, AE Murrell presented a handsome cup with the idea that the race should be for open water swimmers and emphasis should be on the team concept and not on individuals.

But the first swimmer across the finish is still celebrated and becomes the River Champion and the first five men from any one club become the Champion team. The precedent was set that a minimum team of five and a maximum team of 10 may enter from any club.

The local Redhouse Swimming Club won the inaugural race in 1924 with Roy Gregory the first man home to become the first River Champion.

Redhouse teams continued to be successful in this event for many years and won the cup 14 times.

In 1924, the first race had 44 of the 48 men completed the swim. The Ladies quarter-mile race, later replaced by the Ladies Mile race, was first held in 1932 when Ethel Smith was the winner in 6 minutes 27 seconds. In 1948, a 12-year-old Olympic swimmer Joan Harrison won in 6 minutes 10.3 seconds.

Over the following years, the winners have been as follows:

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) Aquabears (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
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 Kuhn (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)

For good reason, swimmers keep on coming back to do the River Mile. Led by the Legend of the River Mile, 80-year-old Mally Richards (shown above) of Jeffreys Bay, is a perfect example. He is getting ready to line up for his 60th River Mile since 1947. "I have been swimming since I was a boy and this is what I enjoy the most. I am hoping to do this till I die,” Richards said. The Uitenhage-born pensioner started swimming for fun at 14, while still a pupil at Muir Collage and swam his first River Mile in mid-1940's.

Ralph West explains about the contemporary times, "I have participated in the past 4 events held annually. It is held on the banks of the Sundays river in the Eastern Cape. Families arrive early, put up their gazebos and tents, enjoying a day of festivities. Many stalls are set up including the sale of foods and various sporting related goods. Over 1,100 participants took part in 2012 across all events which include the SPAR Men's and Ladies mile feature events, the Stormforce kids prelim races, disabled mile, wetsuit mile and off-road triathlon."

With a nearly unparalleled past, the future of the SPAR Redhouse River Mile looks even brighter.

Copyright © 2012 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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The Staff of the World Open Water Swimming Association

2014 Global Open Water Swimming Conference

Learn more...
Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR THE CONFERENCE

The Global Open Water Swimming Conference is a conference on the sport of open water swimming, marathon swimming and swimming during triathlons and multi-sport endurance events.

The conference which has been attended by enthusiasts and luminaries from 6 continents, is devoted to providing information about the latest trends, race tactics, training techniques, equipment, psychological preparation, race organization and safety practices used in the sports of open water swimming, marathon swimming and triathlons.

The conference's mission is to provide opportunities to listen and meet many of the world's most foremost experts in open water swimming, and to meet and discuss the sport among swimmers, coaches, administrators, event organizers, sponsors, vendors, officials, escort pilots, and volunteers from kayakers to safety personnel.

Dozens of presentations at the 2014 Conference at the Mount Stuart House cover numerous aspects of the vast and growing world of open water swimming where attendees can learn and share the latest trends, race tactics, training modalities, swimming techniques, equipment, race organization, logistics, operations, and safety practices for open water swimming as a solo swimmer, competitive athlete, fitness swimmer, masters swimmer, triathlete, multi-sport athlete, administrator, race promoter, sponsor or referee.

The conference was first held in Long Beach, California as part of the 2010 USA Swimming National Open Water Swimming Championships. It has since been held on the Queen Mary in California, at Columbia University and the United Nations in New York City, and in Cork, Ireland. This year in September, it comes to another iconic location, the Mount Stuart House on the Isle of Bute in Scotland.

"The Global Open Water Swimming Conference was started due to the desire and need for athletes, coaches, referees, administrators, race directors, promoters and sponsors from around the world to share, collect and learn information about the growing sports of open water swimming, marathon swimming and triathlons," said founder Steven Munatones. "Other swimming conferences usually offering nothing on open water swimming or perhaps a speech or two, but we thought open water swimming deserves its own global conference. It is great that the community shares its information via the online social network, but there is nothing like meeting other open water swimming enthusiasts face-to-face and talking about the sport from morning to night."

Speakers at the conference include English Channel swimmers, ice swimmers, record holders, renowned coaches, world champions, professional marathon swimmers, renowned race directors, officials and administrators from the Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania.

"Because the audience is passionate and educated about the sport and its finest practitioners, the Global Open Water Swimming Conference is also the location of the induction ceremonies for the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame and the annual WOWSA Awards that recognize the World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year, the World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year, the World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year, and the World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year. Special Lifetime Achievement Awards are also occasionally presented to individuals who have made significant contributions to the sport over their career."

The 2014 Global Open Water Swimming Conference Programme

Wednesday, September 17th
Leave Glasgow to commence 2-day tour of Scotland [closest international airport is Glasgow]

Thursday, September 18th
Stay Mainland, North of Scotland

Friday, September 19th
14:00 - Swim Loch Lomond
17:00 - Head to Isle of Bute
19:30 - Scottish Banquet
21:30 - Dinner Dance

Saturday, September 20th
09:00 - Registration & Coffee
10:00 - Speeches
12:20 - Lunch and WOWSA Awards
13:40 – Speeches
15:40 - Round Table
19:00 - International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Dinner & Induction Ceremony

Sunday, September 21st
09:00 - Registration & Coffee
10:00 - Speeches
14:30 - Swim in St Ninian's Bay on the Isle of Bute

The luminaries of the open water swimming world who will be honored in Scotland will include:

* Sandra Bucha (U.S.A.), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer and International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Swimmer
* Jon Erikson (U.S.A.), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* Claudio Plit (Argentina), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* Judith van Berkel-de Njis (Netherlands), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* David Yudovin (U.S.A.), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* Mercedes Gleitze (Great Britain), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* George Young (Canada), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* Dale Petranech (U.S.A.), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Contributor
* Melissa Cunningham (Australia), 2013 Irving Davids-Captain Roger Wheeler Memorial Award winner
* Vojislav Mijić (Serbia), International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Swimmer
* James Anderson (U.S.A.), International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Administrator
* Dr. Jane Katz (U.S.A.), International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Administrator
* Indonesian Swimming Federation, , International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Organisation
* Elizabeth Fry (U.S.A.), International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Swimmer
* Pádraig Mallon (Ireland), the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year
* Olga Kozydub (Russia), the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year
* Bering Strait Swim (international team), the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year
* International Ice Swimming Association (Ram Barkai, founder, South Africa), the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year

For additional articles on the 2014 Global Open Water Swimming Conference, visit:

* Olga Kozydub To Be Honored In Scotland
* Pádraig Mallon To Be Honored In Mount Stuart Castle
* Mount Stuart House, Splendid Setting For Swimming
* Colleen Blair To Kick-off Global Open Water Swimming Conference
* The Man Who Swims Better Than He Walks
* Joining In The Sea Goddess At The Hall Of Fame
* Mercedes Gleitze To Be Honored In Scotland
* The Incredible Career Of Merceded Gleitze
* Jon Erikson To Be Honoured In Florida
* The Incredible Career Of Mercedes Gleitze
* St Ninian's Bay To Host International Swim Conference

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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