One 11 year old girl, a new record, and a life-saving swim


In 13 degree water, sharks lurk in the depths and high swells threaten. The journey from Robben Island to Big Bay is eight perilous kilometres across the Atlantic Ocean. But one 11-year-old girl in a pink swimsuit lifts her head for air as she powers through the icy waters. The youngest person to swim the Robben Island crossing, she is doing it to save lives.

In January 2018, Abriella Bredell completed the crossing, setting a new record. But she didn’t do it for the title or the glory. When Bredell’s friend from school had to receive a bone marrow transplant, the Red Cross Children’s Hospital helped him during the recovery process. The startling event moved her to action. Bredell decided to use her swim to raise funds for the hospital. So far, she has managed to raise over R150 000.

Bredell, who is from Jeffreys Bay, has been swimming since the age of two. She trained six times a week for the event, even in winter waters. “I love swimming because you don’t have to worry about anything, you can just be yourself,” she says. One day, Bredell hopes to swim in the Antarctic. For now, however, she plans on just being an 11-year-old girl, an inspiring one at that. “You use your talent to be the best that you can be,” she says. “You use your talent to make the world a better place.”