GSS focuses on promoting open water swimming for all levels and celebrating success in open water swimming throughout the world. Cameron’s story is an amazing example of an open water swimmer worth celebrating. His dedication to endurance open water swimming has led him to incredible feats with a purpose to raise awareness and money for an important cause, the education of underprivileged children in South Africa and Zimbabwe.
Cameron Bellamy grew up in Cape Town, South Africa. Even as a child, Cameron was aware of the differences in the levels of privilege. He soon became involved in fundraising to support early childhood education and raised money through athletic endeavors. His current and past projects have included a mobile school unit, a permanent school at an orphanage in Zimbabwe, “Edutainers” for young and vulnerable children, a primary school in northern Zimbabwe, as well as important teacher support.
To raise money for these projects Cameron has already pursued some incredible endurance achievements leading to two Guinness World Records in 2014 for rowing the longest distance and fastest time across the Indian Ocean from Australia to the Seychelles. His other endeavors include cycling over 6500 km from Beijing to the southernmost tip of India, and impressively completing the Oceans Seven open water challenge.
The Oceans Seven challenge was founded in 2008 and includes 7 arduous open water swims around the world. They include New Zealand’s Cook Strait, Japan’s Tsugaru Strait, Hawaii’s Molokai Channel, The North Channel between Scotland & Ireland, California’s Catalina Channel, The Strait of Gibraltar, and The English Channel. Cameron finished the challenge earlier this year and became the 11th person to complete this incredible feat.
Next up for Cameron is the Barbados swim where he intends to swim around the island of Barbados at the end of August. In total, this swim will be 96 km long and take approximately 36 hours to complete. Starting at Carlisle Bay at the south end of the island the first third of the swim will have adverse currents. The second third of the swim will have a following current along the north east side of the island. Lastly, the final third of the swim will have a neutral current along the western side of the island.
To date, although it’s been attempted, no one has been able to complete this swim. The north and east sides of the island are known for their unpredictable currents and stronger waves from the Atlantic Ocean. Between the length of the swim and the volatile conditions Cameron has his work cut out for him. Despite knowing about these concerns, he is using this swim to raise money to continue his projects in Africa and fund two local initiatives in Barbados. The charities being supported in Barbados include Brightwater Kids and Variety Club-Barbados both focused on the support of children in the community.
Following the swim, Cameron is attending this year’s Barbados Open Water Swim Festival in November. A truly unique experience that includes a week of open water swimming. There are several guided swims in advance of the races, two race days, as well as an open water swim clinic hosted by Open Water Olympian Alex Meyer. Race distances include 1.5 km, 3.3 km, 5km, and 10 km. Although these are a little shorter than Cameron is used to, the festival is thrilled to have him participate and is looking forward to hosting all the swimmers attending this November. With the warm calm waters around Carlisle Bay, you won’t want to miss this incredible opportunity to meet a thriving community of open water swimmers.
For more information about Cameron and his charity, Ubunye Challenge, check out the website here.
For more information about the exciting Barbados Open Water Swim Festival, click here.