DNOWS Header

Image Map

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Uncommon, Unselfish Bravery Of Terry Olivier

Imagine seeing splashing offshore in the ocean. Imagine seeing an open water swimmer being attacked. Imagine seeing blood in the water.

Through the binoculars I could see that there was blood everywhere," recalled Allison Kuhl of the Supertubes Surfing Foundation to iOL News in South Africa. "I have seen fins in the water before, but this time you could see a lot of the shark’s body. I could also see the man’s blue swimming cap.”

Now imagine paddling out directly and immediately to see first-hand what was happening and trying to help the swimmer in trouble.

That is what surfer and kayaker Terry Olivier did. Right offshore at Jeffreys Bay in South Africa, Olivier sprang into action and went out to help 74-year-old experienced open water swimmer Burgert van der Westhuizen (shown above), a victim of a rare shark attack. His comments are below.

Olivier tried to help van der Westhuizen, but he was unfortunately already lying face-down in the water as the shark was still biting. Kuhl said, "Olivier realized there was nothing more he could do at the attack scene, he paddled back as fast as he could as he was also in great danger." He hit the shark with his paddle, but it just kept on attacking van der Westhuizen. The shark later reportedly followed Olivier's kayak back in to shore as the NSRI (National Sea Rescue Institute) quickly came on the scene and circled the area with a Jetski to keep the shark away.

Van der Westhuizen was an experienced open water swimmer who regularly swam along the coastline of Jeffreys Bay and in the canals of Marina Martinique. Brenton Williams and his Jeffreys Bay colleagues remember him well.

Jeffreys Bay is a town located in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. The town is situated about an hour's drive southwest of Port Elizabeth and is a stop on the African Swim Safari tour. Jeffreys Bay is a popular tourist destination because of its surfing opportunities and its Blue Flag beach.

Photo of Burgert van der Westhuizen by Carl Newman.

Copyright © 2013 by World Open Water Swimming Association

A Thank You Gift from WOWSA

WOWSA is celebrating the
1-Year Anniversary of the monthly Open Water Swimming Magazine
by giving you a free copy of the anniversary issue.

Open Water Swimming Magazine Anniversary Issue
File Size: 13MB


Download the file to your computer, and then right-click to extract the magazine which is inside the zip folder. The magazine is in PDF format.

CLICK HERE to download your free copy now.

Open Water Swimming Magazine

Open Water Swimming Magazine

The Open Water Swimming Magazine is the monthly magazine entirely focused on open water swimming heroes and heroines of every age, ability, and background. Published by the World Open Water Swimming Association, the Open Water Swimming Magazine is a free benefit to WOWSA members.

WOWSA Member Benefits include 12 issues of the Open Water Swimming Magazine, the annual 276-page Open Water Swimming Almanac, a free listing in Sponsor My Swim, outstanding product discounts from FINIS, an entry in Openwaterpedia and more...

The Other Shore

The Other Shore follows world record holder and legendary swimmer Diana Nyad as she comes out of a thirty-year retirement to re-attempt an elusive dream: swimming 103 miles non-stop from Cuba to Florida without the use of a shark cage. Her past and present collide in her obsession with a feat that nobody has ever accomplished. At the edge of The Devil’s Triangle, tropical storms, sharks, venomous jellyfish, and one of the strongest ocean currents in the world, all prove to be life-threatening realities. Timothy Wheeler’s documentary brings Diana Nyad’s extraordinary adventure to life as Diana sets out to prove that will and determination are all you need to make the unimaginable possible.

2014 Open Water Swimming Almanac

An Almanac for Open Water Swimming

An almanac is essentially a body of knowledge which is so complete that it enables people in different fields to make predictions about the future of their respective industries.

This, for example, was the purpose of the traditional farmers almanacs. It enabled farmers to determine as accurately as possible which crops to plant for the greatest harvests in a given year.

But the farmers almanac was just one example among many.
There are, of course, many different kinds of almanacs.

In fact, there is even one for open water swimming...

Preview the Open Water Swimming Almanac:

The trends are very clear.
The tide is rising for open water swimming.


Open Water Swimming Event Sanctioning

World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation

Open Water Race Calendar

Coaches Education Program