Carina Bruwer Becomes First Woman to Swim Around Southern Tip of South Africa

CAPE AGULHAS, South Africa, April 30. CARINA Bruwer, 24, marked Freedom Day – when South Africa celebrated 10 years of democracy – by plowing through the seething confluence of the warm Indian Ocean and the cold Atlantic Ocean at Cape Agulhas.

She did it in record time (two hours and 16 minutes) knocking two hours and one minute off the record set by Englishman Lewis Pugh 10 years ago. Pugh was the only other person to take on the Cape Agulhas challenge successfully.

After her gruelling swim, Brewer said she was very cold and sore. She said the sea was rough and that she now fully understood why there were so many shipwrecks along the treacherous coastline.

"Swimming in that water was amazingly difficult."

Bruwer said the biggest problem was trying to find any kind of rhythm. She would get into her swimming stroke and then be dragged to the top of a high swell of up to three meters.

"It was like being an insect in a washing machine," she said jovially.

She admitted she was frightened at times.

"It's a really scary point (Agulhas). No one in their right mind would do it for fun. It's dangerous and there are really strong currents."

Bruwer said her support boat contained five people and that they used a "Shark Shield" to ward off unwelcome attacks.

She said the last 20 minutes or so of the swim were the most difficult as she tried to make her way back to land through the surf.

When she reached shore she was very cold and disoriented. However, she will not be quaffing champagne following her triumph as she has to prepare for a solo flute performance on Wednesday at the Baxter Theatre in Cape Town.

Bruwer is currently playing in "Phantom of the Opera" at the Artscape Theatre, also in Cape Town.

Asked what she thought about when she was plowing through the waves on her marathon swims, Bruwer simply said "music."

Carinus Lemmer, spokesman for the attempt, said favorable winds and currents had allowed Bruwer to slash the previous record almost in half.

He said the talented flautist had been on standby to do the epic swim since April 21 but gale force winds had kept her from the water.

ONly a month ago, Brewer became the first South African to round Cape Point in record time, and had done the Robben Island crossing on three occasions.

-Courtesy Swimming South Africa

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