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Ryan Stramrood breaks record for Robben Island crossings

by ZwemZa on June 19th, 2020

Ryan Stramrood (Speedo)

Extreme swimmer and inspirational speaker Ryan Stramrood has finally beaten the record for crossings between Robben Island and the Western Cape mainland, with his 109th swim completed on Wednesday 17 June.

Stramrood broke the record set by his late friend Theodore Yach, who died in October 2018, and his swim will be ratified by the Cape Long Distance Swimming Association.

Chilly crossing

Lockdown laws have been holding Stramrood back from hitting this momentous milestone, but at the first opportunity, following the lifting of regulations preventing him from training, he took to the water from the famous island and hit the mainland in Blouberg in a time of two hours and 34 minutes, with the swim covering a total of 7.3 kms.

The 46-year-old might have preferred to have accomplished the feat earlier in the year when the water was a little warmer than the 14 degrees Celsius that he dipped his toes into on Wednesday, but that didn’t stop him, donning only a speedo and swimming cap, from taking on the challenge.

“When I arrived at the beach standing on the shore in my Speedo with the air temperature at 10C, looking over the bay’s 7,3kms of icy water, I knew it was going to be a tough one. Usually we train and condition our bodies hard for these attempts, but lockdown has not allowed it.”

“I relied purely on muscle memory and determination to reach the beach yesterday and believe me it hurt.”

Stramrood dedicates record to Theodore Yach

This certainly isn’t Stramroods first rodeo when it comes to monumental efforts at challenging the boundaries of the human spirit.

He’s crossed the English Channel, swum a mile in sub-zero water conditions in Antarctica,  completed the double North Channel relay as well as a difficult attempt to solo swim from Russia to the USA which he fell short of completing.

He said that despite all that, lockdown has been among the toughest challenges he’s faced.

“Lockdown has been brutal to us all. My own inspirational speaking and mindset workshop business has not escaped the impact. But once again, in that cold water yesterday, when the shore seems a million miles away and an impossible target, I remind myself that the mindset engaged and the work put in now, will make this highly uncomfortable and unsafe space seem like a distant memory the minute I walk out on that beach.”

He dedicated the milestone to Yach, who was a dear friend of his.

“I dedicate this crossing to my friend the late Theodore Yach who set the bar so high and who would surely still be doing so if he were alive today.”

I was exceptionally pleased to find my feet on the soft sand of Blouberg beach to confirm the success and give special thanks to Derrick Frazer of BigBay Events and Mark De Klerk for their invaluable support on this milestone crossing”.

Dan Meyer | The South African

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