Jeffreys Bay siblings break world swimming records
“We know that this is a crazy time but we wanted to keep the promise we made.”
This promise made by the Bredell sisters from Jeffreys Bay to the children and staff of the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital in Cape Town saw the duo breaking two world swimming records on Friday and raising funds in the process.
Abriella Bredell, 12, became the youngest person to swim 11.9km around Robben Island, while her sister Issataya, 10, now holds the record of being the youngest person to swim from Cape Point to the False Bay mainland — a 8.5km swim.
The sisters' recording-breaking swims served as one of several fundraisers aimed at raising the R122m needed for the construction of an emergency centre at the hospital.
They said the swim was also in honour of all those who had made donations as well as the hospitalised children who are not able to do the same.
While an exact tally of the funds raised through donations has yet to be confirmed, donations continue to stream in. The siblings said they are hopeful they will surpass the previous amount donated by Abriella.
During Abriella's first record breaking attempt, in 2018, she raised more than R150,000 towards the construction of the hospital’s intensive care unit when she became the youngest person to make the 8km swim from Robben Island to Cape Town.
And in March 2019 she and her sister decided to do something that would challenge them and began training for their latest achievement which saw them train five times a week in open water, adding that they did so without wetsuits.
Issataya said Friday had been a perfect day to complete her swim.
Issataya swam from Diaz Beach at Cape Point in the Atlantic Ocean into the Indian Ocean and the shores of Buffels Bay tidal pool in False Bay.
“I can’t say it was a bad swim because I'm used to that distance, but I usually swim it in two hours 20 minutes, and it took me four hours.
“But importantly I want people to know that as much as breaking a world record is an accomplishment, it is seen by many as something that is done by someone who is strong.
“I did the swim for the kids who can't, the people whose life is not that easy but are strong enough to overcome their struggles. They are powerful and I want them to know that,” Issataya said.
Abriella left from Blouberg on a boat to swim around Robben Island, completing her swim in three hours 30 seconds.
“I enjoyed my swim, it was a good strong swim. The ocean was full of kelp but it’s was an amazing swim with good conditions and I’m glad it’s something I did,” she said adding that her highlight had been swimming with a school of dolphins.
Asked whether they would be breaking any more records to raise awareness and funds, the Bredell sisters said only time would tell.
“I can't imagine this is the last time we will work with the hospital; we are a family now,” Abriella said.
The hospitals' donor relationship — legacy and fundraising manager Pauline Solomons — said they appreciated the contribution and efforts by the Bredell siblings for the hospital, adding that the Children’s Hospital was the only emergency centre for children in SA.
“The Bredell girls get it, they understand the plight of the children. Whatever we do, whatever communication we send out, they always ask 'what about the children?'.
“And for them to be so selfless at a young age is absolutely phenomenal and we are very proud of them.”
Solomons said the hospital was being built in two phases. The first phase would be completed in August 2020 and the second phase in December 2021. She said that to date, about R74m had been raised through various donations, funding and initiatives.