The week leading into the attempt I was nervous as anything – naturally but adding to this was the fact that my last two dives swims before the attempt were not great, again the nerves just getting the better of me.
For Guinness, you need to declare the distance you are going to do before you attempt it, as the last two practice dives had not been good, I pulled my attempt back to 90m – which would still set a new outright record but not the 100m I was initially aiming for.
On the day my nerves were massive – I even kept apologising to people in advance incase I messed up and didn’t break the record. The team behind me however put me at ease with huge encouragement. On arrival at Lake Mysutjernet, Norway on Saturday 5 March 2022 there were spectators as news had travelled of my attempt – it was really cool to see and distracted me from my nerves.
There was a sauna at the venue for me to get changed which offered vastly different temperatures to what I was about to jump into. I spent a long time, maybe too long mentally preparing myself before jumping in the water to do my swim and then once in the water needed to adjust my goggles. As I had acclimitised to the water I just took a bit more time to make sure I was 100% focused on the dive, took my last breath and headed off.
As the swim is done with no weightbelt I cant completely fill my lungs as I would expend too much energy trying to fight my body from floating up. I have said it before and it may sound cliché but I really change as soon as I am in water, it is crazy how nervous and anxious I am until my head goes under the surface and almost instantaneously the “noise” stops and I feel completely comfortable and relaxed. The dive couldn’t have gone any better, I felt effortless as I stroked through the water passing the markers set for me to know how far I was into the dive. On reaching the 90m marker I felt so good and even air left letting me know that 100m plus is a real possibility.
Surfacing and hearing the cheers of everyone felt incredible – another world record! Although I did the swim alone, a lot of thanks has to go to the team behind me who got me to this point: my coach, Brian Crossland who trained me in Egypt and helped me break the “longest underwater walk” record and mentally prepare for this challenge. Arve Gravningen who organized everything for the “longest under ice swim” from safety, training and videoing my swims. Arve’s father Roar for driving me everyday and assisting me before and after my swims. My family and friends for all the encouragement and support and to everyone that came to the lake to support me during training and on the record attempt day.
It really was a great day – my official distance was 90,6m taking 2minutes35seconds to complete under 48cm of ice with the water temperature of 1 degree! Arve has already mentioned “so we going for 100m next year?” I laughed, for now I want to enjoy this feeling and get back to South Africa to be with my family for a bit but who knows – the water is where I am happiest so maybe 100m is an option for the future.
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported me by donating to my Crowd funding to assist with covering the costs of officiating the records with Guinness and the safety crew and a few additional expenses. If you would be interested and able to assist, I would appreciate any donations through my crowdfunding page. I am also looking to do corporate and school talks to spread my message, not only to discuss my World Records but my near life long battle with mental wellness and my escape through being in the water.