Cape Town - Christine Roos braved icy water, jellyfish stings and body aches as she swam the gruelling 35km False Bay Crossing in aid of the SA Bone Marrow Registry.
Roos made the crossing on Sunday for the organisation that she has been an ambassador for since 2019. She became the 15th swimmer to successfully go the distance.
Roos started her attempt at 5.30am and completed it in 11 hours and 25 minutes, a swim she described as the hardest of her life.
“I started really nervous, not knowing what lay ahead of me.
“The swim happened in three parts and the first bit was super challenging because I faced quite a few jellyfish. At some point, it was like I was pulling through jelly because the water was so compact with jellyfish.
“Once I got past that, I felt good and got into my second 10km, which was the most profound moment in the swim. I got into a rhythm and my body was just a machine and I was the passenger.
“The last four kilometres were probably the toughest; I was emotionally shattered, my body was sore. I was so grateful to get to the end of the swim.”
The swim is often compared to the world-famous English Channel Crossing due to its level of difficulty and has been dubbed the “Everest of Cape swims”.
Swimmers are confronted with several elements during the open water swim, including strong and unpredictable currents, icy winds, and inconsistent water temperatures.
The False Bay coast is also known for Great White sharks.
Christine said she did not encounter any sharks but had a few seal encounters, spotted a whale and a stingray.
“My motivation was that I had come this far so I just got to keep pushing to get to the end. My support team on the boat kept me super motivated and kept cheering me on the side to keep going.”
Roos had been training for two years in swimming pools and dams around Gauteng and the Vaal River, and recently completed an ocean swim camp in Langebaan on the Cape West Coast. In preparation for the icy False Bay coast, she trained outdoors in winter in water temperatures of between 11 and 14ºC.
Her target is to raise R50000 and so far she has managed to raise close to R30 000.
Kamiel Singh, head of sustainability and national operations, said the funds will go towards the Patient Assistance Programme established to assist families who are not able to cover donor related costs associated with the transplant.
“We are very proud of Christine for taking on this challenge. The strength, courage and commitment she displayed is awe inspiring.”
The chances of finding a match for a patient are 1 in 100 000 and in some instances 1 in 400000.
To continue to support Christine check out her BackaBuddy https://www.backabuddy.co.za/everest-of-cape-swims