Extreme swimmers begin 200km river odyssey to highlight water crisis

Two extreme athletes will begin a 200km swim down the polluted Wilge River in the Free State on Monday afternoon to highlight the plight of South Africa’s deteriorating waterways.

Globally renowned extreme swimmers, Andrew Chin, 45, and Toks Viviers, 52, are taking to the polluted Wilge River from Harrismith in Speedo costumes, caps and goggles only, and will attempt to swim to Frankfort, 200km downstream over an estimated 10 days.

They will be accompanied by a small support crew and will camp overnight on the river bank.
The swim is organised by Rivers for Life  which raises awareness of SA’s water crisis and urges action.
The public can contribute by donating R15 to the cause by SMSing the word “River” to 39116.
Chin is planning an extreme swim in a major river in each province as part of the initiative.

“We’re using more water than is available and fast running out,” said Chin, adding: “our waste water treatment is in a critical state; over a third of our drinkable water is lost through leaking pipes and taps and many of our rivers are polluted from sewage and toxic run-off. We hope our swims will ignite action to address these issues.”

The swim’s main sponsor, Aqua for Life – which develops safe drinking water solutions including the globally hailed LifeStraw® personal water filter system — has donated 10 filtered water systems to disadvantaged schools and clinics along the swim route which, once installed this year, would each provide safe drinking water for up to 200 children for three to four years, said the company’s MD, Nico Germishuizen.

Follow Chin and Viviers’ progress and contribute to Rivers for Life via Facebook.
For images, click here:

  • For info, contact Andrew Chin on 083-708-1390 or Toks Viviers on 082-573-7186 or support crew members Roy Alexander on 082-954-9542 or Michael Miller on 072-324-1165 or Nico Germishuizen (Managing Director of Aqua for Life) on 072-193-1354 or Hudah Levendall on 083-882-0590.


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