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Swimming across Robben Island for charity

On September 30, 58-year-old Howard Warrington will again swim from Robben Island to the mainland for the 161st time. Photo: Supplied

On September 30, 58-year-old Howard Warrington will again swim from Robben Island to the mainland for the 161st time. Photo: Supplied

Published Sep 23, 2023


Determined to make a difference, Howard Warrington will brave choppy waves and swim across cold waters without a swimsuit, in an effort to raise funds for the Heartland Baby Sanctuary.

On September 30, 58-year-old Warrington will swim from Robben Island to the mainland for the 161st time.

Howard Warrington. Photo: Supplied

Warrington from Cape Town has recently set a Guinness World Record for the most crossings from Robben Island to the mainland at 160 crossings, and he is also the fourth person in the world to swim from Robben Island to Blouberg a hundred times in 2022.

His love for sport and philanthropy has led him to embark on many charity causes, raising funds either for animal welfare or for those who are less privileged.

He said he has been doing sports for many years and that swimming became a favourable sport a few years ago, when he fell in love with open water. He said he started swimming in 2015 and that he was not good at it at first; however, through resilience and hard work, he managed to perfect his craft.

“The first swim I took from Robben Island in 2015, I did everything wrong and I almost ended up in the hospital with hypothermia, and the second time in 2016 I again took it very hard, and in 2017 I went back again and I got it right, and it felt great. I enjoyed it so much, and nine months later I swam across the English Channel, from England to France,” said Warrington.

He said all of his sport challenges have always been for charting; however, the Heartlands Baby Sanctuary swim is close to his heart because he loves children.

Heartlands Baby Sanctuary is a registered child and youth care centre and community mental health facility. It was established in 2015 to offer temporary residential safe care and support for children in need of urgent care and protection and is located in Somerset West in the Western Cape.

“The children who are being taken care of at Heartlands are those who have been abandoned by their parents for various reasons: either their mothers are alcoholics or exposed to abuse, their mothers simply don’t want them, or they can’t take care of them.

As adults, we can take care of ourselves, but not children. They still need care and guidance, and this is why I am embarking on this journey to try to make a difference in their lives,” said Warrington.

Warrington’s wife of 35 years, Elmarie, said that despite the harsh weather conditions that her husband will be subjected to as he swims across Robben Island, he is not worried as she views this as a great adventure for them.

“It’s great to be able to give back to the community and create awareness, and this is the only way that he knows best. We have always been a sporting family, and he has always been athletic ever since I met him, and we actually met at the gym 37 years ago. We come from a family that has been involved in charity and helping people. I think for us, it is about the love of the outdoors, and being out there in the ocean gives us much pleasure. We will be supporting him all the way,” said Emarie.

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