2 Filipinos in South Africa open-water swim event
Filipino swimmers Betsy Medalla and Julian Valencia in Cape Town, South Africa, will attempt to be the first Filipinos and Asians to complete the symbolic Robben Island Swim on Feb. 9.
Speaking from Cape Town, Buddy Cunanan, honorary consul of Georgia in the Philippines and swim organizer, told the Inquirer Saturday that he met with officials of the Cape Long Distance Swimming Association (CLDSA) in South Africa on Friday to discuss the continued training of Medalla and Valencia in Cape Town and details about the actual swim, which is scheduled for Feb. 8 or 9, depending on weather conditions.
“I want to assure the Filipino people that all measures are being taken to guarantee the safety of Medalla and Valencia. Nothing is being left to chance,” Cunanan said.
“A Rainbow of Hope: a Celebration of Philippines-South African Friendship—The 1st Robben Island Filipino Swim 2014” is the first attempt by Asians to take part in a historic open-water swim, where they will go out into the deep waters with temperatures ranging from 12 to 15 degrees Celsius, stretching 7.2 kilometers from the shores of Robben Island to the suburb of Bloubergstrand in Cape Town.
The swim will commemorate the life of the late Nelson Mandela and a gesture of thanks to South Africans for their help for Supertyphoon “Yolanda” victims, and raise money for the survivors of the calamity.
“It pleases us very much that Filipinos are attempting this swim. Aside from the highly symbolic and noble objective of the event, we are eager to build lasting friendships and add Filipinos to our ranks and record books,” said Peter Bales, CLDSA chair.
Cunanan said both Medalla and Valencia will be accompanied by at least one guide boat, which will be skippered by CLDSA Operations and Safety Chief Derrick Goodman. Joining Goodman on board will be a rescue swimmer and Cunanan himself.