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Betts aiming for new record.

The 2022 Jetty Mile.

Last year saw Max Betts (19) being crowned the Pupkewitz Jetty Mile champion. He finished the 15th edition of the open-water race over a distance of 1.92 km in just 22 minutes and 19 seconds.

Although Betts participated in the annual event several times in the past, last year was his first win. He acknowledged the absence of eight-time champion and open water Olympian Philip Seidler, who did not take part due to a recovering shoulder injury. Yet the record of 18:33, which Seidler set in 2019, remains intact. Speaking after the event last year, Yvonne Brinkmann of OTB Sport who organises the event, said that Seidler’s record time is an impressive feat and one that will likely stand for a while.

After his win, Betts said that his game plan involved staying behind the leader, Nico Esslinger, until the Jetty from where he turned on the power, took the lead and won it. It was neck and neck until the very end. Betts said that he wants to return this year and aims to beat Seidler’s 2019 record.

The first female to cross the Jetty Mile finishing line of the approximately 200 participants, was Molina Smalley (24:48) who described the race as “pretty rough”. Smalley, who hails from Windhoek and who has already participated in this race eight times, said she hopes to place in the 2024 Olympics.

The number of participants has increased over the years. Close to 200 people showed up last year in comparison to the 50 participants in action at the event back in 2007. A wetsuit is recommended for all participants as the water is usually cold at this time of year. Swimmers will need to get past the breakers into the open water. The current is on the side of the swimmer but the water can be very rough. For less confident sea swimmers, there is a sprint event in the more protected waters of the Mole. The distance is approximately 600m, and again wetsuits are recommended due to cold sea temperatures.


Competitors need to assess for themselves whether they are capable of taking part on the day. Competitors also need to be self-sufficient in the water, as sea rescue is limited. A swimmer cannot take part in both the Jetty Mile and Sprint. The minimum age for the full event (Jetty Mile) is 13. A 150m kiddies swim is a fun event for children who can participate along with their parents or any competent swimmer.

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