Torpedo SwimRun promote their events as “wildly cool”. This is certainly true, especially for the flagship Cape race; which is scheduled for 18 November 2023. Not only does is boast an exceptionally scenic route along Cape Town’s Atlantic Seaboard from Sandy Bay to the iconic Clifton Fourth, but it also includes wild ocean swims and of course icy water temperatures. Not that the elements should put anyone off, in fact they inspire participants to take part.

Rather than being daunted by the cold waters a handful of frequent participants even lobbied the race organizers to institute a skins category. This allows those brave – or perhaps a different less complimentary adjective – enough to take on the full 16 kilometre course, including 3 kilometres of ocean swims, without a wetsuit. The group taking on the Skins race has grown in size, largely on the back of the increased benefits and popularity of cold-water immersion, fuelled by the likes of Wim Hof.

Torpedo SwimRun

The beautiful Torpedo SwimRun Cape route starts in Sandy Bay and follows the Cape Town Atlantic Seaboard to Clifton Fourth. Photo by Caleb Bjergfelt.

Along with the non-wetsuit competitors Torpedo SwimRun Ops caters for the really adventurous with a longer route. The Ops starts with a boat trip to the BOS-400 wreck and includes an extra swim as well as an additional run, taking the total distance to 20 kilometres. There is also an introduction to cold water SwimRun racing in the form of the Cosy race. It can, unlike the longer distance events, be undertaken solo and features a 6.5 kilometre distance with just 1.5 kilometres of swimming, spread across three dips in the icy ocean.

The main event for the 2023 Torpedo SwimRun Cape will be the team’s wetsuit race, from Sandy Bay to Clifton Fourth. Within that event there will be various self-seeded waves of starters, with Slow, Medium and Fast paced start groups, as well as the Ultimate Mixed Racing batch. This initiative provides prizes for the top ten mixed teams and continues Torpedo’s legacy of innovation and celebration of the women to take on SwimRun events in South Africa.

Torpedo SwimRun

The run from Sandy Bay to the Llandudno rock jump takes the Torpedo SwimRun competitors along a spectacular stretch of coastline which few Capetonians ever visit. Photo by Johan Minnaar.

“Torpedo SwimRun Cape is excited to announce an innovative change in the racing structure for the upcoming 2023 edition,” Race Director, Richard McMartin said. “We’re passionate about the racing experience and excited to focus on the mixed category, where teams consist of one man and one woman. The idea behind this is to embrace Torpedo SwimRun’s uniqueness and utilise the freedom it allows us to explore opportunities that enhance the racing experience and amplify the excitement for participants and spectators alike.”

“Focusing on a single category sharpens the racing atmosphere, bringing together the immense talent of both men and women competing together in a team dynamic,” McMartin explained. “We have witnessed women’s winners and mixed teams securing the overall top spot over our history. By focusing on the mixed category and dedicating prizes to it, we celebrate this trend and shine the spotlight on these achievements.”

Despite the wild and adventurous nature of the event water safety is the primary priority and life guards from the local clubs as well as a professional water safety team are employed to ensure the safety of every participant. Photo by Johan Minnaar.

“SwimRun is centred on teamwork, where partners support and collaborate, transcending the boundaries of individual achievement. Racing in the mixed category adds an exciting dimension to this dynamic, fostering team strategy and showcasing the complete athleticism required to race in the ocean,” he added. “In the past Alexandra and Nicholas Quénet have won the mixed category and overall race, as have Annah Watkinson and Matt Trautman. Vicky van der Merwe has also performed exceptionally well on the overall standings, en route to winning the women’s title with a number of different partners. Perhaps this will provide her with an opportunity to win the overall title with one of the fast men from her Stellenbosch Triathlon Squad?”

Entries to the 2023 Torpedo SwimRun Cape are now open. As a precaution against adverse weather or large swell, the race will feature a bad weather back-up day too. The primary race day is 18 November, with Sunday 19 November serving as the back-up. To enter the Cape, Cosy, Skins or Ops events in Torpedo SwimRun Cape visit For more information on the Ultimate Mixed racing category click here. Those wishing to learn more about SwimRun and in search of pre-race training events or inspiration can follow @torpedoswimrun on Instagram or like the Torpedo SwimRun Facebook page.

The bravest undertake the full 16 kilometre Cape route without a wetsuit, in the Skins category, like Kerry-Anne Crichton-Stuart (left) and Brigitte Le Court de Billot (right). Photo by Caleb Bjergfelt.

Torpedo SwimRun

Vicky van der Merwe is one of the triathletes who may well benefit from the Ultimate Mixed race, having won the women’s competition on two occasions with various partners from her Stellenbosch Triathlon Squad. Photo by Caleb Bjergfelt.