Charteris Hooper


Charteris Hooper has a special place in South African swimming history - being the first man to (officially) complete the swim from the iconic Robben Island to Cape Town. An escaped convict was reported also to have succeded  - in 1690.

After Charteris it was only in 1921 that another swimmer succeeded, when 15 year old  Peggy Duncan won the Argus race.


Henry Hooper's first attempt was aborted due to bad weather on 21st August 1909. He was sto try again on Monday 6th September 1909.

To proivide some context, the article about the "professional swimmer" Jules Gautier who swam with his hands and feet manacled, appeared in the same newspaper on 21st August 1909. He was a "professor", and part of a thriving community of swimmers in England at the time.

At the 1926 Argus Race from Robben Island, Henry Hooper can be seen on the right of the image - Pewggy Duncan on the left, and Astra Winckler in the middle.