The swim will start at 11.30 from Priory Beach, Caldey, so swimmers’ boats will leave at 10.30. Registration on the day from 09.15. Online entry applications NOW available here: www.Tenby-Caldey-Swim.co.uk/SWIMMERS.
In 2015 the annual Caldey Swim – from Priory Beach, Caldey, to Tenby harbour – was cancelled because of unfavourable conditions – an easterly wind and choppy water, so there was even more expectation attached to this year’s swim.
Come the morning of Sunday 14th August 2016, the conditions were nigh on perfect – a southerly wind of only 4mph to follow the swimmers along the largest section of the swim, parallel to Tenby’s South Beach, and warm, but cloudy skies, so not too hot.
The swimmers left on the boats taking them across to the island from the town’s Castle Beach just after 9.45,
most looking happy, some concerned – nerves were playing a part and quite rightly: this is no ordinary swim, it is across the straits running between Caldey Island and Tenby, where the rip can take a person to Pendine instead if you start in the wrong direction and the tides haven’t been carefully considered. It is never a straight line swim!
No local triathlete Oli Simon to lead the swimmers home this year – he was being a Dublin Ironman – so the normal 42-ish minutes to complete the challenge was only a guide. Indeed, the first finisher, Andrew Wallace, came home in 53 minutes, shortly followed by two others. So no record here.
However, the two hours cut off has previously been a tight call for the last to finish, but not this year: all 94 completed the course within 90 minutes. And after some recovery time with a banana and a bottle of water, all were smiling cheerfully, with their newly won medals, amongst the large throng of family and friends gathered at the finishing line.
The organisers, Tenby Sea Swimming Association, breathed a joint sigh of relief; the swim had taken place; all the swimmers had returned safely; there had been no hitches in the safety systems set up to protect the swimmers and myriad craft operators involved. Everyone was now smiling, a job well done.
Now to collect the monies, pay the bills and hand over the balance to Tenby RNLI, the beneficiary of the Swim.
Four years ago Val Coates Rees, one of the 70s swimmers, asked if the Tenby Sea Swimming Association (organisers of the annual Boxing Day Swim) would consider resurrecting the swim and turning it into a regular annual event within Tenby’s burgeoning Summer Festival of Sport. The Caldey Swim was reborn.
In 2013, 50 swimmers made the crossing and in 2014 100 took part.
Last year, a summer of changing weather produced a windy, choppy water offer for the day of the Swim. Always acting with safety foremost, the event had to be cancelled. And in the midst of an ever burgeoning Tenby summer festival of sport – think Long Course Weekend, Tenby 10K, Ironman Wales et al – that was it. There was no alternative Sunday when the tides matched the organisers’ criteria of conditions.
So, this year’s Caldey Swim, on Sunday 14th August, has an extra, rarity value. And when the three Caldey boats take the 100 swimmers from Castle Beach at 9.45 over to Priory Beach, Caldey, ready for their 10.45 start, many of them, frustrated by last year’s disappointment, will be thinking they are, indeed, special.
A special event it is: an open sea swim of about 2.4 miles from Caldey Island to Tenby harbour is a real challenge. So important are the tides, the rip, the wind that the conditions have to be almost perfect for the event to take place. And you have to do it in a long dogleg direction; if you went straight you’d end up on Pendine beach!
Eight power craft (ribs & jet skis), nearly 20 kayaks, three motor vessels, a tall masted sailing ship as a marker, a dedicated team of coastguards, specialist medical teams at both ends of the swim, maybe even a lifeboat or two if there are no ‘shouts’ coinciding, Tenby Mayor and Chair of Pembrokeshire County Council to share handing out the medals, athletes’ bottles of water for before and after the swim, bananas for an energy grab on completion, there’s a lot that contributes to a simple, but actually rather complicated event.
And let’s not forget the sponsors who kindly help with the costs – Princes Gate Springwater, Big Brum’s Carpet & Furniture, The Port of Milford Haven – who also enable the Swim to raise loads of money for Tenby RNLI.
So at 7am on Sunday 14th August, please keep your fingers crossed that the conditions are sufficiently favourable for the organisers to ‘wave the green flag’ and keep them crossed until 10.45 when the swim is due to start. If you’d like to catch the finish, on the far side of Tenby Harbour quay, the first swimmer should arrive at about 11.30, the last by 12.45. You could go out on the spectator boats, leaving from Castle Beach at about 10.25, or simply watch from The Esplanade, Castle Hill, Tenby Harbour or on the beach where they land. You could even join in the congratulatory clapping – the exhausted swimmers will truly deserve your applause.
Some of the intrepid local swimmers have started their training campaign, preparing for The Long Course Weekend, Ironman Wales &, in between those two events, THE CALDEY SWIM.
Now with a full entry of 100 swimmers, additional names are being added to a reserve list. The sponsors (Milford Haven Port Authority, Big Brums Carpet & Furniture, Princes Gate Water) have all signed up again. The water & land safety teams & their support craft have been sorted.
So, roll on 14th August ….. is this your #FindYourEpic time?
This year’s swim takes place on Sunday 2nd August, with the swim starting from Caldey at 13.30. Swimmers, please look out the rest of your information from the Swimmers section on this website. Anyone wanting to follow the swim on one of our supporters boats, they will be leaving Tenby’s Castle Beach between 12.40 and 13.00. The swimmers should arrive back at Tenby’s North Beach between about 14.10 and the ‘cut off’ at 15.30.
So, 100 swimmers will take part in the third TSSA Caldey Swim: will you be one of them? Or will you be one of the enthusiastic spectators around Castle Hill or on North Beach welcoming them in? Either way, it’s a very special day for Tenby’s Festival of Summer Sport, which features the Long Course Weekend on 3rd / 5th July and finishes with Ironman Wales on 13th September. The Festival also includes the Tour of Pembrokeshire cycling sportive on 24th April, the Carten 100 cycling event from Cardiff to Tenby on 9th May and the Tenby 10k run on 27th July. A busy summer indeed.
The Caldey Swim raises funds for Tenby’s RNLI and, after the first year with £3,000, last year we contributed £7,000 to the Lifeboat’s financial support. How much this year?
A break in the weather, the sun came out, the winds died down … the swim was ON!
97 swimmers left Priory Beach, Caldey, at 3pm on Sunday 31st August and, well inside the two hour cut off, 95 swimmers (two needed to be taken out of the water) had finished on Tenby’s North Beach. Congratulations all round, to all the smiley swimmers and all those who contributed to organising, sponsoring and supporting the second TSSA organised Caldey Swim. Photos to come ….
This year prizes are going to be awarded to the best swimmers’ fund raising efforts, with first prize a night’s B&B at Fourcroft Hotel, together with a tour of the Tenby Lifeboat House; second prize is Sunday lunch for two at Plantagenet Restaurant; third prize is a voucher to spend at Jago’s. The funds raised are handed over to Tenby’s RNLI and, after last year’s total of £3K, with twice the number of swimmers the target is considerably higher.
After due consideration of tide predictions by all parties, we are pleased to announce the start time of this year’s swim will be ………. 15.00 on Sunday 31st August. For further details of registration, briefing and ferry ride out to Caldey, please click here.