The incredible South African has become the second person to swim 100 crossings between Robben Island and the mainland!
Cape Town, South Africa – Inspirational speaker and extreme swimmer Ryan Stramrood has become the second person to swim 100 crossings between Robben Island and the mainland, in a time of two hours 18 minutes.
He follows his late friend and swimming companion Theodore Yach, who made the swim an incredible 108 times. Ryan dedicated his 7,4km swim to Theo, saying: “I trained with him often and swam several Robben Island crossings with him, including his 100th. Theo swam my 50th crossing with me in 2015 and would have joined me on my 100th today.”
Ryan said of today’s swim: “Totally elated to be on the beach. No Robben Island Swim is ever easy. Today was my 100th, and I’ve made it. It was tough out there, it was cold, and it got choppy, so I am very, very happy.”
Fellow extreme swimmer and environmental campaigner Lewis Pugh accompanied Ryan in a support boat and said: “It’s an incredible achievement to swim 100 Robben Islands. I have been swimming for 32 years, and I have never done an easy Robben Island, never once, and he has now done 100. The thing about Robben Island is that it’s always unpredictable: you think you are going to do two hours, and conditions change, and it takes three hours; you think you will take 3 hours and it becomes 5 hours. It shows Ryan has got real mental fortitude and ‘vasbyt.’”
Ryan has since his first Robben Island crossing in 2003 swum several formidable routes and distances, including the World First Official Ice Mile in Antarctica in -1C water temperature. He was also a part of the team for the World First USA to Russia Relay (mainland to mainland), and he swam across the Straits of Gibraltar from Europe to Africa. For the average Joe, as Ryan describes himself, swims like these require an incredible level of physical and mental endurance.
After his Ice Mile swim in Antarctica in 2014, he was encouraged to share his learnings from his extreme swims. He now uses the insights gained to inspire others in his second career as a speaker.
“I began to realise after my first Robben Island crossing just how unbelievably powerful the human mind is. It is set to a default function to protect us – to keep us safe – and I realised just how overprotective this powerful tool is. But we have the power to challenge it – in all aspects of life – and unlock certain magic that few will ever find.”
The first crossing took place in 1909, and hundreds of swimmers have completed it since then. Ryan encourages those who are contemplating doing the swim.
“The Robben Island swim is a fantastic personal goal to have, and with regular training and the right attitude, anyone can do it. You simply have to set the goal, you have to overcome that ‘natural defence mechanism’ in your head that says ‘Too hard for me’.”