Kim Prytz is the first person to swim a double Robben Island doing breaststroke. In her own words, deep calls to deep!
“A green light far in the distance. The inky black of the waves as sunrise breaks over the ocean. A V formation of birds flies overhead with the classic vista of Table Mountain on the side. How lucky to be here!
Going towards Robben island I felt the spirit of Mandela. And wondered how he had grown to be the massive open human being he was in his time at Robben island. The kelp forests were truly inspiring going in to the rocks at Robben island.
Michelle [skipper Michelle Petring] gave me a clear path through it too. I didn’t know what was to come. Two Robben island ferries passed us and there were big waves all around.
This heralded the start of the hardest leg I could imagine. I was getting dragged to the side by the current so I was no longer making steady progress. I had to push very hard now between feeds which had to be further apart due to drifting. This truly tried me to the point of how is this going to happen…all I could do was keep going.
Asking for help in my spirit I did, as I didn’t know how this was to be possible. I received help in the form of my sensei (karate teacher) coming out on the boat when I had nothing left. Also from Nicola the awesome paddler who helped me to get in. And, of course, my incredible crew who didn’t give up on me. And my friends and parents who met me In a reduced but ebullient state.
And also all those in my community that I knew were thinking of me, too.
Thank you thank you!
I am often I asked why I do these swims. I truly love being in the ocean and swimming. And I love breaststroke. It’s slower and gives you a great vista while you swim. As for the cold, I seem to thrive on that too, but I also enter a meditative state where it is no longer an issue most of the time.
But there is more. It somehow exposes you to the essentials of life. Being in the ocean with no thoughts, just being, is an extraordinary thing. However there are times when you are tested to your limits and your body has given up, but something essential in you continues on. This time was by far the toughest swim thus far. However when you enter the unknown, many things you don’t expect are revealed. Community kindness. Sensei coming out in a boat to encourage as I struggled the last kilometer. A paddler, Nicola, also coming out with me and giving me much-needed impetus to continue. The support boat crew too going out of their way. These are unknown and when I try things I’ve never tried allow new things emerge.
I also am so grateful to be doing the swim for the Capricorn Primary School children too. And when the need to dig deep was required it was a great thing to think of them.