Herman's Great Shark Madswim
- By: Herman Van Der Westhuizen
- Short URL: https://www.backabuddy.co.za/hermans-great-shark-madswim
”There are many reasons why we do what we do, or choose not to, but whatever it is, it must be a journey, it must have meaning and it must be fun”
Once a year I join a special group of people called Madswimmers for a very unique swimming adventure.
These are all professional people that make time for training in their busy schedules and who have it in their hearts to do something truly great. While attempting these crazy swims each of us will be raising funds for selected charities that are in need of our support. We carry all our own costs, every cent that we raise is going to the beneficiaries.
Last year I presented cheques (on behalf of Madswimmers) to the Cancer Ward at Pretoria Academic hospital as well as to an amazing group of teachers in the Western Cape that teach disadvantaged students robotics. I was supper impressed by the dedication of these people and how they manage to squeeze value out of every cent donated to them. It is really heart warming to see what difference a little bit money and a lot of dedication makes.
This year 20 crazy Madswimmers from all over the world will attempt to set a new world record for the fastest 100km in the open ocean. The swim will take place about 20km off-shore from Ilovo and will follow the Agulhas current in a southern direction. It is expected that the swim will take between 10 and 16 hours.
I will swim under English Channel rules, with just a cap, goggles and speedo brief and will not touch any support for the duration of the swim. It will be any time as tough as any of the big extreme Channel swims in the world. What makes this swim unique is the presence of sharks. The swim is also in support of Shark Awareness. You can read all about this cause on the Madswimmer website.
Something about the swim: I often get asked what is the most scary thing for me on any swim: They all differ, but for this one, I must admit that the ever present sharks will result in interesting situations, especially if we swim in the dark. Then the pure physical feat of swimming for so long and so far and of course, the sea conditions - sometimes it gets hairy out there.
Swimming in dangerous places or the big oceans of the world or in ice conditions is a growth process and each extreme swim changes me in some way. it makes me much more aware of life and its small intricacies. You enter a different world when all luxuries are stripped and its only you and the water and what is in the water. Many times, your brain wants you to stop or you panic and want to get out of the situation at all costs. These are defining moments in any extreme situation and at that point you must decide to stop or to carry on.
This is just as applicable to life around us, we all experience the same feelings at some time in our lives. But do you know, that there are so many children in all walks of life that experience every day what we experience from time to time: For them, the world and daily life is most of times reduced to an endless sea of stress, worries, pain, hunger, fear and fight for survival.
I invite all of you to invest something in the lives of people that need it. Your donation to Madswimmers will go to the right places and will make a big difference. If you ever wondered whom to give something to, this is the right platform.
Just do it….I am!
Madswimmer is a registered non-profit company consisting of individuals involved with daring open water swims to raise funds for children’s charities. They are established business men and women in their own right, but also do these extreme, adventurous swims. Take a look at some previous campaigns here to see how they managed to raise over $420000 over the past 7 years.