Cape Town - A Capetonian swimmer has pulled off a world-first – crossing the International Date Line in freezing seas between America and Russia, wearing only a Speedo.

Ryan Stramrood describes himself as an “ultra-extreme ice swimmer” and has lived up to that by swimming about 4km across the Bering Strait from the Big Diomede Island in Russia to Little Diomede Island in the US.

On Wednesday he posted on Facebook: “All safe and sound back in the US. Thrilled with achievement of crossing the border between the islands, however disappointed we could not go for the record because of politics and unable to land on Russian soil. Very hard recovery, 50mins in varying temps from 3.2 degrees.”

Stramrood was part of a team supporting the charity madswimmer.com – but was the only member to swim without a wetsuit.

EWN reported earlier this month: “But the extreme swimmer does have valuable experience on his side, being no stranger to extremely cold water or its disconcerting effects on the human body and mind.

“Your body reacts quite violently to it,” Stramrood explained. “All the blood drains from your extremities – from your legs and your arms – to protect your core, to keep your organs alive. And that’s quite a horrible feeling.

“It hurts like hell to be honest.”

Cape Argus