Swimming 5km along the coastline from Clifton to 3 Anchor Bay in Cape Town in 11 – 12 degree Celsius water would be a tough ask for any athlete, but even more so if you are only 11 years old.
Jeffreys Bay swimmer Abriella Bredell did exactly that when she took on the Atlantic Ocean this past Sunday. She was not deterred by the icy water, swirling currents or waves that broke along one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world.
After spending two days at the world class training facility at Stellenbosch University with her coach, Brenton Williams, Bredell was physically and mentally ready to take on her toughest open water swim challenge thus far in her open water swimming career.
Bredell rubbed shoulders with the Great Britain Olympic swim team who were also in Stellenbosch on a two week training camp and got to see world champions, like Adam Peaty training in the 50m outdoor heated swimming pool.
There were concerns that the Atlantic Dash would be cancelled due to fog that had reduced visibility along the western seaboard of South Africa, but fortunately it moved slightly offshore on Sunday morning.
Some 37 swimmers, including the two from Jeffreys Bay, gathered at Clifton 4th Beach at 07:00. There were a lot of nervous faces when the organisers announced that the water was really cold.
“Luckily I have been training in Marina Martinique over the winter and did a few swims in Cape Town as well, so I was well prepared for the Atlantic Dash, but I knew that swimming 5km in 11 – 12 degree Celsius water was going to be tough,” says Bredell.
“It was hard getting into the water, but once I settled down, the swim became really enjoyable as I could see all the houses and mountains behind Clifton and Bantry Bay as we were swimming.
“I always feel safe in the water as my coach shows me where to swim and he talks to the support paddler and the boat man to make sure we swim along the right lines. The worst was swimming over the kelp which is scary, but the magnificent view of the coastline made up for that.”
Bredell is training to become the youngest swimmer to ever complete the notorious Robben Island crossing and is hoping to swim the channel between the island and Cape Town next month.
The 7.6km swim is regarded as one of the most extreme open water swims in the world, with swimmers having to front up to cold water, currents, wind and sea life.
Bredell is raising money for the Red Cross Children’s Hospital through the swim.
“I want to help kids that are less fortunate than me, so decided to raise funds for the Red Cross Children’s hospital and would appreciate the support,” says Bredell.
“So far, we have raised over R50 000 and my goal is to raise R2 million. Please visit my website www.abriellabredell.co.za to make a donation that could save the life of a child.”
The next open water swim event in Jeffreys Bay is the Marina Mile that takes place at Marina Martinique on December 30.
Swimmers can train at the Marina on Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 17:15. For more information, contact Williams at 083 549 6795.