The second event of the popular BIG5 Sport Challenge, the Dragons Featherbed Lagoon Mile Swim took place today at the 33rd annual Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival.

There was an upset in the mens field with ex South African Waterpolo player Bevan Manson taking the win in the mens race and favourite Theo Blignaut finishing in second. South African triathlete, Vicky van der Merwe won the ladies race.

Said Manson after his surprise win, “It was a little bit chilly, but a nice swim. Great to swim through the waterfront with lots of people watching us, and there was a great turn out of participants.

I was worried as I hadn’t swum in cold water like this before, but it was fine, as the gun goes and the adrenaline kicks in you tend to forget about everything else.”

Vicky commented before her race, “Today is a strong event for me and my aim is to try and stay upfront with the elite guys, but I have been sick so am hoping that won’t make a difference.”

After the race Vicky concluded, “I am so happy with my win, it is the one that I was really hoping to take. The water was really cold so I didn’t do a course scouting warm up which resulted in me making a mistake at the bridge and doing around 200m more than I should have, but I was lucky enough to still finish in first.

Next up is the Featherbed Trail Run on Tuesday which I am really looking forward to. I am currently happy with my running, although I am traditionally a road runner I have been spending time in Jonkershoek on the trails getting more off road experience.”

Stuart Marais finished in 3rd place, but will maintain his number one spot on the leaderboard, “The swim is not my strongest discpline, but you have to make the most of every event. I thought that the water was really cold to start, but in the harbour it was even colder! Today was all about limiting the damage for me, and I actually really enjoyed the out and back swim and look forward to smashing a big burger now.

Next up is the Featherbed trail run which is my absolute favourite, so I am really looking forward to that.“

The BIG5 multi-sport challenge is a highlight on the annual Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival programme and includes The Momentum Weekend Argus Knysna Cycle Tour MTB Race (80km), Dragons Featherbed Lagoon Mile Swim (1.6km), The Featherbed Trail Run (15km), The Momentum Health OatWell DualX, powered by PeptoPro (5km Run | 30km MTB | 2.5km Run), and The Momentum Cape Times Knysna Forest Marathon (21.1km).

With athletes having completed two sporting codes, the next challenge will be the impressive, Featherbed Trail Run (15km) which takes place on Tuesday 5 July in the Featherbed Nature Reserve.

It’s not too late to support charity by sponsoring a Big 5 Sport Challenge athlete, all you need to do is go to and pledge your amount.

For more details on the BIG5 Sports Challenge visit or follow the BIG5 Sport Challenge on social media:

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Men’s Race

  1. Bevan Manson 00:22:52
  2. Theo Blignaut 00:22:59
  3. Stuart Marais 00:23:34

Ladies Race

  1. Vicky van der Merwe 00:26:32
  2. Nicole Godfrey 00:27:45
  3. Andrea Steyn 00:27:47


Men’s Race

  1. Keegan Cooke 00:23:11
  2. Jacques Coetzer 00:27:00
  3. Gordon Shuttle 00:36:28

Ladies Race

  1. Ariel Rubin 00:24:28
  2. Samantha Harrington 00:30:11
  3. Kate Neill 00:30: 20