Abriella tackling tough Robben Island swim
An 11-year-old girl from St Francis Bay hopes to raise thousands of rands for sick children and break a swimming world record at the same time when she tackles the gruelling 7.6km Robben Island Channel swim later this month.
Little Abriella Bredell’s dream is to raise R2-million for the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital in Cape Town – and she aims to be the youngest participant to take part in the event on December 29, weather permitting.
“I chose the hospital because I realised that in fact children that are in hospital did not choose to be there, it’s the cards life has dealt for them and sometimes they can’t help it,” Abriella said yesterday.
The pupil at Victory Christian School in Jeffreys Bay has already managed to raise R55 000 and said she felt extremely humbled by donations which have come in from all over the world.
“I have been training to enter this event for two years and I am super excited that it is happening. I want to raise so much money for the kids and hopefully encourage kids my age to do the same – not in a greedy way but in a way that will help,” she said.
“I won’t lie, it has been a challenge though, people tend to not take me seriously because I am so young and because I am still a child. But overall, I am really glad to be doing this.”
Abriella started swimming when she was only two, trained by Brenton Williams at Brenton’s Swim School in Jeffreys Bay and Maria Holmes at Liquid Lines Swim School in Cape St Francis.
By the time she was seven she was already taking part in openwater swims and galas.
She is very competitive and loves to improve on previous times, and plans to do the swim with Williams.
Abriella trains five times a week and loves the open water swimming at Marina Martinique outside Jeffreys Bay. She also recently took up surfing and is confident she will cope with the chilly ocean, which probably will be 12°C or 13°C.
“When I decided on going for the world record I knew my coach, Brenton, had been doing a lot of swims for the Smile Foundation and he encouraged us to do some as well. I thought I would really like to swim and raise funds as an individual for someone,” Abriella said.
She discussed her idea with her mother Lauryn, and between them they decided on the children’s hospital.
“I did more research into The Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital and that is how it came about to wanting to raise funds for them,” Abriella said.
Lauryn, however, said the initiative to help others had come from Abriella.
“A lot of people would think that Abriella was forced into doing something of this sort but no, it actually all came from the top of her head and all we’ve done is support and encourage her,” Lauryn said.
“The responsibility to help is what drives her the most, sometimes she forgets about the world and about herself as well.
“Also, because swimming is second nature to her this feels extremely natural to her, she seems to do it with such ease.”