OPEN water swimmer, Abriella Bredall (10) from Jeffreys Bay, competed at the annual Lagoon Swim in Langebaan last weekend in preparation for tackling one of the world’s toughest open water events at the end of the year – the notorious Robben Island crossing.
Taking part without a wetsuit in water of 15 degrees Celsius, local swimmers Brenton Williams and Kyle Harris joined Bredall in the two-mile event. There was also a one-mile event. The primary challenge of the swim is the currents that flow in the lagoon, especially when the swimmers were heading out to the island.
“Last winter I spent a lot of time training at Marina Martinique. I knew my body would be able to cope with 15 degrees Celsius water. My main concern was the seals that were swimming around before we got into the water,” says Bredall.
“Once we got to the island in the lagoon, we had to swim over kelp beds which was quite scary. Luckily I was with experienced open water swimmers, Willliams and Harris, who kept figuring out what the current was doing.
“Sometimes we had to swim very close to the island to avoid the current and then on the far side we swam out wide to catch the current which helped us a lot.”
Bredell finished the two-mile swim in a time of 1 hour ten minutes.
Bredall’s ultimate goal is to swim Robben Island when she is 11 years old, and hopes to set a record for the youngest person to swim from the island to Blouberg Beach – a distance of 7.6km in icy water with nefarious currents and abundant wildlife.
“My favourite stroke is butterfly, but I think my first Robben Island crossing will be freestyle,” says Bredall.
She is doing the swim to raise funds for the Red Cross Children’s Hospital.
Donations for the Red Cross Children’s Hospital can be made via Bredall’s website at www.abriellabredell.co.za.
Her website will be kept up to date as she trains for the Robben Island swim and donors can also keep track on how much she has raised for children who are being helped by the Red Cross Hospital.
Bredall will take part in the inaugural Pier-to-Pub swim in Port Elizabeth on Monday and will then enter the Lighthouse swim in Cape Town in May.
The JBay Winterfest Cold Water Swim Classic, set for July 16, is the next goal, with Abriella setting her sights on completing the three-mile event, which is a Robben island qualifier.