When most Capetonians were waking up this morning, a Cape Town businessman would have been just more than halfway through his 24-hour endurance swim, if all went according to plan.
Toni Enderli organised the charity event that is taking place at the Sea Point Pavilion to raise money for the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI).
Mr Enderli, is also aiming to become only the seventh person and first South African to complete the Oceans Seven extreme swimming challenge.
“I was in a dark place about eight years ago and I started swimming. The bug bit me and I started training for the Robben Island swim, which I thought was impossible at the time,” he said.
The endurance swim in Sea Point was set to start at 3pm yesterday, Wednesday April 12 and end at 3pm today, Thursday April 13.
“There are about 40 endurance swimmers taking part all over the country and four of us set to swim for the full 24-hours,” Mr Enderli, who lives in Blouberg, told Atlantic Sun.
He added that the aim was to raise money for NSRI’s Water Wise project which teaches children from disadvantaged communities about water safety to prevent drownings.
“I’ve aligned myself with the NSRI for the work that they do for kids. I’ve got two kids myself and it is something that I am passionate about. The aim is to raise enough money to help 50 000 kids.”
Mr Enderli said he had been preparing for the past eight years. “A 24-hour swim is mentally exhausting. Your body wants to stop after about six hours. The only thing that keeps you going is having a positive mind set. My reason for doing this is leaving a positive legacy for my family. It is about the community and what you can do to make it a better place. That is what will keep me going in the swim.”
He added that he started long-distance swimming when he was 31 and, at 39, has completed a number of ocean swimming challenges, including the Gibraltar swim and the English Channel swim.
“It is never too late to start,” he said. “The beginning is tough but you have to stick with it. The first time I attempted the Channel swim, I failed. Cold water swimming is all about having a positive mindset.”
Craig Lambinon, who is a volunteer at the NSRI’s Bakoven branch, said the Water Wise project had already reached over a million children.
“It has progressed over the years and is aimed at drowning prevention instead of us getting called out all the time. We aim to teach previously disadvantaged children about water safety.”