ICY water, burning skin, poor visibility, possible hypothermia, giant sharks, and powerful currents are some of the hazards two local open water swimmers could face when they attempt to set up three records.
Sisters Abriella (10) and Issataya (8) Bredell have their eyes, or rather swimming goggles, set on two icy titles and a Robben Island first.
Donning their winter woollies and wetsuits, the two sisters will respectively take part in the Triple Mile and Mile event at the Cold Water Swim Classic on July 16 to become the youngest swimmers to splash over the frigid finish line.
Helping them train for the event, is swim coach and experienced open water swimmer, Brenton Williams.
Not stopping there, for Abriella successfully completing the Triple Mile event in the ge-lid water of Marina Martinique is the first stepping stone on her journey to qualify for the notorious Robben Island Crossing. She hopes to become the youngest swimmer to swim from Robben Island to Blouberg - a distance of 7.6km in icy water with nefarious currents and abundant wildlife.
Not only does she hope to set a new record, but she is also doing the swim to raise funds for the Red Cross Children’s Hospital.
“If I were in their shoes, I would wish that someone help raise funds for me,” says Abriella.
For more information or to make a donation towards this worthy cause, visit her website at www.abriellabredell.co.za.
Her mentor, Williams, will be at her side every stroke of the way.
Training for what others may consider torture, takes a considerable amount of convincing at times. Not because she does not enjoy it - in fact, she lives for the challenge of beating the chill - but getting into the water is the main challenge.
“The cold burns. It literally feels like your skin is on fire. Once in the water, you must immediately start to swim in order to maintain your core temperature,” says Abriella who got hooked on cold water swimming last year.
“An unwavering mindset to succeed is vital. The mental preparation is all about trying to convince yourself that you can do this.
“I would recommend cold water swimming to swimmers who want to put their ability and endurance to the ultimate test.”
In preparation for the Robben Island Crossing, Abriella takes to the open water three times a week with Williams at Marina Martinique, while she also works in three sessions of pool swimming a week with Maria Holmes from Liquid Lines in Cape St Francis.
Abriella’s swimming accomplishments include the Langebaan Lagoon Swim, the inaugural Pier to Pub Swim, the Lighthouse Swim, swimming around Cape Point, the Cold Water Swim Classic, the Oceana Swim, the Ocean Racing Series, swimming from Seal Point to Port St Francis and the Smile Mile.
Younger sister Issataya is set to follow in her sister’s slip stream. She hopes to become the youngest swimmer to finish the Mile event at the Cold Water Swim Classic.
And who knows, the Robben Island Crossing might be next on her bucket list.
According to Issataya, she used to paddle alongside Abriella while training. “I would never have dreamt that I would exchange my paddles for goggles and a swimming cap.”
Next on the family tree to embrace the cold are their younger sister and baby brother.
The fifth annual Cold Water Swim Classic, will see top South African and local open water swimmers take to the water at Marina Martinique at 09:30 on July 16.
Presented by Nicholas Melck, the swim has become one of the core events on the JBay Winterfest calendar. With water temperatures ranging from 11 degrees Celsius to a warm 14 degrees Celsius, this extreme event is the only re-cognised cold water swim in the Eastern Cape.
Swimmers competing in the Mile or Double Mile event, can either wear a wetsuit or compete according to channel rules and wear only a speedo type costume, goggles and a swim cap.
Those competing in the Triple Mile event, which is an official qualifying swim for the notorious Robben Island Crossing, are only allowed to wear a speedo.
For more information, visit www.zports.co.za/coldwaterclassic.