Clifton lifeguards tackle Robben Island crossing to raise funds for club

Zack Waters and Savannah Voigt at Big Bay beach after the long swim from Robben Island.

Two Clifton Surf Lifesaving Club (CSLC) volunteer lifeguards completed a gruelling swim from Robben Island to Big Bay beach on Monday August 23 to raise funds for the club.

Savannah Voigt,16, a Herschel Girls’ High School pupil, and Zack Waters, 15, who attends Rondebosch Boys’, finished the 7.5km swim in just over one hour and 55 minutes.

Funds raised will help the club’s lifeguards take part in the South African Lifesaving Championships to be held in Gqeberha, Eastern Cape, in the first week of October.

Savannah, from Clifton, says her fellow lifeguards are all a part of their Clifton family and friends, have trained so hard to get where they are today and deserve to be going to SA Nationals.

Zack, from Rondebosch, says due to the impact of the lockdowns, many lifeguards lost their out-of-season jobs and funds raised will go towards transport and accommodation for the championships.

Savannah says she was relieved to finish the cold water swim. “The water temperature started at around 13 degrees celsius, though in the last 1.5 kilometres it came down to 12.7 degrees,” she says.

“We received hydration every half hour from the boat that was supporting us,”says Zack.

They were supported by Derrick Frazer from Big Bay events on his boat who would help with hydration and were cheered on by fellow lifeguards on their canoes.

Zack says they also had a lot of support waiting for them at the beach when they arrived at Big Bay.

CSLC coach James Thomson says he is proud and impressed by the teenagers.

“They have gone out of their way to support the other lifeguards of the club who may have lost jobs during the off season,” he says.

Savannah says she swims everyday of the week as well as lifesaving and on weekends she does open water training at Clifton to get acclimatised to the cold water. Zack says he would run 5km in the morning and then 7km in the afternoon and would swim in the pools eight to nine times per week as well as having the one open water swim at Clifton. “The water in Clifton is so cold it would take five minutes getting in the water to adjust to the temperature,” he says.

Both are outdoor enthusiasts. Zack says he swims all year, “I also enjoy surfing, lifesaving and mountain biking,” he said.

Savannah said: “I’ve always loved swimming since I was a baby and live near the beach so I’m always in the water,” she says.

She has competed in the Langebaan Express 6km swim, swam at the Marina Martinique for SA Open Water Champs, attempted Olympic Trials for the past two years for the 5km and 7.5km, as well as the 2.5km Around the Rocks swim in Big Bay.

If anyone would like to donate funds towards their campaign, follow their Backabuddy link on

Zack Waters and Savannah Voigt.