Modern Athlete Magazine Issue 143, July 2021 July 2020 - Page 49

Carina has used her swimming to raise much-needed funds for various causes
Images : Dave de Beer , Dorette Roos

They say that when the going gets tough , the tough get going , and that seems an appropriate way to describe acclaimed musician and long-distance open water swimmer Carina Bruwer . Earlier this year she completed a 21km swim across Walker Bay , from the Old Harbour in Hermanus to Stanford Cove , near Gansbaai , through notoriously dangerous sharkinfested waters , to raise funds to try help those in the preforming arts industry who are suffering financial loss due to the ongoing COVID pandemic .

“ It was my most significant swim to date , because of where it comes from , where I am in my life , and what ’ s going in in the world . It felt meaningful and right . It was the first time I really felt I had a task bigger than me , in spite of doing many swims for charity before , possibly because I was trying to raise money for close friends ,” says Carina
“ Herman De Vries helped me put the swim together , and even organised a surprise musical performance at the Old Harbour as I was going into the water . When the music started , I just lost it and got very emotional . I think the reason for being there really hit home , and the task I had ahead of me . Also , I really miss making music , that energy , that feeling that live music creates . Still , I was in high spirits , because it was also a lovely break from the heaviness of the past year .”
Swimming Marathons
Carina is one of Africa ’ s most decorated female open water marathon swimmers , and her extensive swimming résumé of the past 20 or so years includes crossing the English Channel , Gibraltar Straits , Messina Straits , False Bay , Walker Bay and dozens more , with many of her swims being ‘ firsts ’ and / or record-breaking feats . This has seen her nominated for inclusion in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame , and ranked as one of the World Open Water Swimming Association ’ s top 50 most daring ,
courageous and audacious open water swimmers in the world .
In 2014 she founded Swim For Hope as a fundraising platform through which open water swimmers can dedicate a solo or group swim to a worthy South African cause . Since its inception , Swim For Hope has raised over R600,000 for different charities , with Carina doing several of her swims to support Muzukidz , an organisation that offers underprivileged
Internationally acclaimed flautist , internationally renowned swimmer
children the opportunity to learn the violin . One of the most recent of these swims took place early last year , when she became just the second swimmer , and the first woman , to cross Nelson Mandela Bay all the way from Pollock Beach in Summerstrand , Gqeberha ( Port Elizabeth ) to Bluewater Bay on the Coega side of the bay . She completed the gruelling 19km crossing in a time of five hours and eight minutes .
However , by January of this year , Carina was ready for another big swim , and this time she wanted to do something to help her fellow musicians and performers . “ I put a post on Facebook , asking if anybody could recommend an organisation that I could work through to help performers , and about two weeks later , Hugo Theart phoned me to ask if I had heard about TribUo , an organisation founded by members of the Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees ( KKNK ) management and other prominent people in the Arts . Now I just needed a route , and I wanted to do another False Bay crossing , but I needed to go soon , due to the water temperature starting to drop . TribUo said it would be too soon for them and asked me to delay so they could get the infrastructure in place , so I decided to do Walker Bay instead ,” says Carina .
“ To be honest , I was quite surprised that nobody had done it before , as Walker Bay is such a lovely shape , with a clear route , and 21km is a great distance , shorter than the 35km of False Bay , so within reach of more swimmers . Added to that , Hermanus and Gansbaai are great venues for the start and finish , so more people can come out to support . That ’ s why I chose to start at the Old Harbour in Hermanus and finish at Stanford Cove , instead of doing the usual iconic point to point route that I prefer .
Dealing with the Cold
Besides her concern for fellow performers , also weighing on Carina ’ s mind before the Walker Bay swim were two things … the temperature of the water , and sharks . “ I can face most open water challenges ,