Ardagh Glass Packaging World Ocean Day Swim Media Release

  No: WODS2307

7 June 2023

    Embargo : None

Written By : Tim Whitfield

Perfect conditions for Angel and Botha to shine at World Oceans Day Swim

Durban - The universe seemed to support Sarah Ferguson and the aims of the Ardagh Glass Packaging World Oceans Day Swim on Saturday as Damian Angel and Tatum Botha emerged as new champions in perfect conditions.

After the inaugural 2021 event was swum under strict Covid restrictions, and the 2022 event was cancelled due to flooding, it was a relief for the organising team to see the sun rise over ideal swimming conditions at the Durban Beach Club on Saturday.

The two competitors who made the most of the conditions were Angel and Botha who completed their respective five-kilometre swims almost unchallenged to claim the men's and women's titles respectively.

Angel quickly built a lead and then had a lonely swim as he won in a time of 1:00:56 to beat Matthew Pelser but just over three minutes, with Shane Ramsay 18 seconds further back in third.

The women's race saw Botha immediately build an advantage, and her only competition was some of the men chasing Angel. The South African lifesaving team member ended fourth overall with a time of 1:07:11, to beat Mykae Forrest by exactly eight minutes with the event's race director and driving force, Ferguson, cruising into third place, just over a minute further back.

Not surprisingly, Angel said he "was happy with that swim".

"There were great conditions out there," said the 17-year-old just after coming out of the water as the new champion. "It was really nice and flat and the water was warm. I had a really good start and went hard from the beginning, so I pulled away from everyone early and I did not have many people around me until I started catching the swimmers from the shorter races."

Botha's victory was even more dominant than that of Angel, but she was able to enjoy the company of male swimmers around her as well as draw inspiration from the purpose of the event.

"I just tried to have a good start and then tried to stick with the boys as long as possible and see if I could hang on until the end," said the experienced surf lifesaver. "The boys started to get away just before the first turning can at New Pier (about 1.5km after the start) and they were just too fast.

"It is absolutely amazing to be swimming for clean oceans and to help reduce plastic pollution. The marine life is so much part of my day-to-day life because I am a lifesaver, and I am always in the ocean, so for me this is an amazing event that Sarah has put together ... it is truly amazing."

Ferguson, who heads up Breathe Conservation, the beneficiary of all the proceeds from the event, was happy to have been able to secure third place in her own event, but was more aware of the importance of the swim to a wider audience than just the swimming community.

"It was amazing out there today," said the record-breaking endurance swimmer. "It was beautiful conditions. It was nice and clean and calm and warm ... we could not have asked for better.

"I was super comfortable. I just enjoyed it and it was great to be out there. I had a good pace and felt strong and could have carried on, so it was good.

"But this is about way more than just racing. It is about getting people to fall in love with the ocean again and appreciate it more, and also to protect it. We have been hit hard recently with the e-coli levels, Covid, riots, chemical spills and pollution, and so it is beautiful to have a really awesome day to swim in clean water, which is really what this event is all about, and we want to keep it that way.

"We are really grateful to Ardagh Glass Packaging and the other sponsors who have been instrumental in making this happen."

In the shorter 3.2km event, veteran Gary Albertyn was a clear winner ahead of a bevy of female racers, while in the women's race, close friends Bailey Forrest and Tayla Bruce were awarded a joint win after they sprinted up the beach together and could not be separated in what was also a joint second overall.

Selected Results:
1 Damien Angel 1:00:56
2 Matthew Pelser 1:04:11
3 Shane Ramsay 1:04:29
4 Nathan Fouche 1:09:03
5 Wayne Willetts 1:12:29
1 Tatum Botha 1:07:11
2 Mykae Forrest 1:15:11
3 Sarah Ferguson 1:16:29
4 Jenna-Mae Lally 1:19:28
5 Amelia Fraser-Harding 1:21:30

1 Gary Albertyn 0:42:04
2 Michiel Kemper 0:48:11
3 Wayne Thompson 0:48:38
4 Tristan Frew 0:49:18
5 Stefan Van Der Westhuizen 0:49:25
1 Tayla Bruce 0:43:26
2 Bailey Forrest 0:43:26
3 Lara Edward 0:44:48
4 Tasnim Nabbie 0:46:53
5 Jadyn-Lee Joubert 0:46:59

1 Tyne Van Achterbergh 0:17:34
2 Jake Borrageiro 0:17:58
3 Gal Marks 0:19:32
1 Kailey Joubert 0:20:37
2 Jenna Ellse 0:21:31
3 Dayna Deeble 0:22:34

1 Luke Swinney 0:14:34
2 Kerry Staples 0:15:37
3 Mark Van Achterbergh 0:16:53
1 Christy Gilmour 0:15:39
2 Riette Theunissen 0:15:48
3 Holleigh Van Achterbergh 0:16:50

More information about Breathe can be found at


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Ardagh Glass Packaging World Ocean Day Swim logo  
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Tatum Botha emerges from the winner as the clear winner of the Ardagh Glass Packaging World Ocean Day Swim on Saturday.
Ant Grote /
Gameplan Media

Sarah Ferguson, the race director and the driving force behind the Ardagh Glass Packaging World Ocean Day Swim on Saturday finished second woman in the 5km event.
Ant Grote /
Gameplan Media

Unidentified happy mum and daughter emerge from the water after completing their event at the Ardagh Glass Packaging World Ocean Day Swim on Saturday.
Tilanie Grote /
Gameplan Media

Swimmers power toward the finish at the Ardagh Glass Packaging World Ocean Day Swim on Saturday.
Ant Grote /
Gameplan Media

And they're away. Swimmers head toward the water at the start of the Ardagh Glass Packaging World Ocean Day Swim on Saturday.
Ant Grote /
Gameplan Media

About 350 swimmers took part in the Ardagh Glass Packaging World Ocean Day Swim on Saturday.
Ant Grote /
Gameplan Media

Swimmers of all ages in four different distances were in action at the Ardagh Glass Packaging World Ocean Day Swim on Saturday.
Ant Grote /
Gameplan Media
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