R-160322- Cape Town. Veteran long-distance swimmer Theodore Yach completed his 100th Robben Island swim this morning. There were scores of supporters at the finish at Three Anchor Bay for the swimmers who came in around 11am. Theodore used this swim to raise funds for 6 special charities on this crossing. .Reporter:Francesca Villette .Pic: Jason Boud

Francesca Villette

LOCAL OPEN water swimmer Theodore Yach made history yesterday when he became the first person to complete the Robben Island Crossing 100 times.

The strenuous 10.4km swim from Robben Island to Three Anchor Bay in an icy 13ºC Atlantic Ocean proved tough at first, but things got easier as he got closer to the shore, Yach said.

Wearing only a Speedo brief, swimming cap and goggles, Yach completed the swim in three hours and 10 minutes.

He received a warm welcome from friends and family waiting for him at the finish line and he struggled to hold back his tears when he walked ashore.

“I am so relieved to have finally accomplished this milestone and to have the amazing support of everyone on the beach. I feel truly blessed from the love and support of my family, friends and the Cape Town community,” Yach said.

His wife Michelle Yach said the family was extremely proud of his accomplishment.

“It’s been an emotional ride, with lots of ups and downs, but that is sport in general. We are very proud of him and the fact that it has raised a lot of money for charities,” Michelle said.

Money raised from yesterday’s swim will go to the Children’s Hospital Trust, Paper Video, NSRI Water Wise Project, Wynberg Boys’ School Aquatic Centre, Highlands House and the Herzlia Foundation Trust.

Just how much money was raised has yet to be determined, but Yach said he was hopeful that it would be a huge amount.

“I think they are very good causes,” said Yach, who swam his first Robben Island Crossing in 1981.

Thirty-five years later and he has become one of the most recognised international open water swimmers.

Over the years, Yach has raised about R7m for charities.

He was accompanied yesterday by experienced swimmers Toni Enderli, Kieron Stramrood, Mark de Klerk, Buff van Westenbrugge, Dean Noik and Ryan Stramrood.

To donate to these charitable causes go to www.centurycrossing.co.za.

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@FrancescaJaneV