JBay swimmer gears up for Robben Island

Open water swimmers from all over South Africa descended upon Langebaan last weekend to take part in the annual Lagoon swim.

There was the option of a one Mile or a two Mile swim and close to perfect conditions greeted the swimmers on Saturday morning, with sunny skies and very little wind.

With a water temperature of 15/16 C, the primary challenge of the swim was always going to be the currents that flow in the lagoon, especially when the swimmers were heading out to the island.

10 year old Abriella Bredell from Jeffreys Bay entered the two Mile event and took part without wearing a wetsuit.

Abriella wants to swim the notorious Robben Island crossing by the end of the year and the Langebaan Lagoon swim was part of her build up to taking on a swim regarded as being one of the toughest in the world.

“Last winter I spend a lot of time training in Marina Martinique so I knew my body would be able to cope with 15 C water, so my main concern was the seals that were swimming around before we got into the water,” said Abriella.

“Once we got to the island in the lagoon, we had to swim over kelp beds which was quite scary. Luckily I was with two very experienced open water swimmers in Brenton Williams and Kyle Harris and they 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.

Abriella is aiming 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 7.6 km in icy water with nefarious currents and abundant wildlife.

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She is doing the swim to raise funds for the Red Cross Children’s Hospital.

“My ultimate goal in swimming is to train hard and to swim the Robben Island Channel.

My favourite stroke is butterfly, but I think my first Robben Island crossing will be freestyle,” said Abriella.

Donations for the Red Cross Children’s hospital can be made via Abriella’s website www.abriellabredell.co.za

Her website will be kept up to date as Abriella trains for the Robben Island swim and donors can also keep track on how much she has raised for kids who are being helped by the Red Cross Hospital.

Abriella 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 which takes place in May.

The JBay Winterfest Cold Water Classic, set for the 16 July, is the next goal, with Abriella setting her sights on completing the three Mile event, which is a Robben Island qualifier.

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