Ryan Stramrood is only the sixth solo swimmer to achieve the crossing, which he undertook from Miller’s Point near Simonstown to Rooi-Els near Pringle Bay.
Western Cape, South Africa (20 March 2021) – Well known extreme swimmer and inspirational speaker Ryan Stramrood broke yet another record on Thursday 18 March, swimming 33kms across False Bay in a fastest time of 8h39mins, subject to ratification by the Cape Long Distance Swimming Association (CLDSA). The previous record of 9h17mins from March 2007 is held by Barend Norjie.
Stramrood is only the sixth solo swimmer to achieve the crossing, which he undertook from Miller’s Point near Simonstown to Rooi-Els near Pringle Bay. For Stramrood, this challenge has been more than two years in the making, with lockdown restrictions on training and lack of access to the ocean hampering his efforts. He has continued to work towards this ultra-extreme swimming goal and was thrilled with the result.
“It was a very tough but great swim for me. I felt strong, so I pushed hard, despite it being really rough and the waves side-on. The best part was the relatively warm water at 18,5-19 degrees. I am so happy that it is done, with an unexpected record as well.”
Stramrood had two support boats flanking him during the swim, with official observers onboard to ensure that the rules for an official swim were adhered to. He is not allowed to touch the boat or receive any assistance beyond a water bottle being thrown in for him to take in liquids and nutrition.
“Swimming tests my mind. Today’s swim was about 80% mental and 20% physical; in many ways getting in physical shape is the easy part, its dedication to the goal. Obviously, I have to train really hard but maintaining a strong mindset through any obstacle is the most important element. I was just getting into my rhythm at around 2,5kms today, and I hit an entanglement of blue bottles and was stung multiple times from head to toe. It’s brutal, and its finding that mental strength and grit that allows one to handle the inevitable setbacks and to keep going. This mindset can help you achieve just about anything.”
Stramrood has not always been this fit and considered himself a couch potato when he decided to attempt his first Robben Island crossing in 2003. Since then, he has taken on some of the world’s most extreme swims and pushed boundaries in ultra-extreme cold conditions.
With a small team of South Africans, he swam the World First Official Ice Mile in Antarctica in -1C water temperature and was part of the team for the World First USA to Russia Relay (mainland to mainland). He has succeeded in crossing the notorious English Channel and has twice swum across the Straits of Gibraltar from Europe to Africa. He is also a two time Guinness World Record holder.
In June 2020, Stramrood completed his 109th Robben Island crossing, which broke the record held by Theodore Yach. He has completed the Robben Island swim a further six times since then and is still the record holder at 115 crossings.
Stramrood says that the past year has made him appreciate that it’s more important than ever to set goals to work towards, despite the pandemic: “We can’t chase for the light at the end of the tunnel; we need to adjust to the darkness within it and find opportunity there. As an inspirational speaker, I had my entire bookings calendar wiped out by the first lockdown, and only by adjusting to what seemed like darkness at the time have, I managed to regain my business and grow it significantly.”