Cape Town sea-swimmers honour

Cape Town sea-swimmers honour swimming legend Theo Yach

Theodore Yach, veteran cold-water swimmer and Robben Island record-holder, passed away suddenly last week from asthma complications. He was 60.

Cape Town sea-swimmers honour

Theo’s swimming teacher used to threaten to pull out his teeth with pliers if he didn’t swim better. As is typical of his character, he never let it quench his love of the sea and of swimming. 

As a loving father, husband and successful businessman, he didn’t have much reason to doubt himself, yet he continually doubted his ability, and his deep acquaintance with the unforgiving Atlantic was probably his way of putting that demon to rest on a regular basis.

According to the Cape Long Distance Swimming Association, Yach was a veteran of 108 Robben Island swims, an English Channel swim, and several other international distance swims.

He is remembered as a humble gentleman who loved motivating young people to achieve their dreams. He was a friend to everyone who took interest in swimming, particularly those who shared his passion for open-water swimming.

CLDSA chairperson Andrew Chin said Yach’s death shocked the swimming community as he was well known for his swimming achievements around the world.

“He was a legend in South African open water swimming circles and inspired many people to take on the challenge of a swim to Robben Island, which was his favourite swim,” said Chin.

“He inspired many people, taught many people how to swim, including the Archbishop of Cape Town who was one his students.”

Western Cape Premier Helen Zille says: “He was one of the most generous, warm, open-hearted and community giving people I’ve known. And also, so young and so fit. He didn’t drink or smoke. He was the epitome of someone who lived a healthy life.” (EWN)

Yach leaves his wife Michelle and two sons, Daniel and David.

Watch:  Memorial swim to honour the memory of Theodore Yach