I Never Experienced That Much Pain In My Life

I Never Experienced That Much Pain In My Life

Smiling through the pain is what Cecilia Schutte does…and does very well. Her smile masks the pain brought upon by jellyfish stings and the discomfort of cold water doses in marathon amounts.

The 33-year-old social worker who recently completed an unprecedented triple circumnavigation of Robben Island in 12 hours 23 minutes and earlier won the Gordon Pugh Memorial Trophy for the Most Outstanding Swim of the Year from the Cape Long Distance Swimming Association.

But it was for her earlier 23 km swim in 8 hours 30 minutes where her smiles were nearly as constant as the blue bottles.

Her unprecedented marathon swim took her from Big Bay in Bloubergstrand, around Robben Island, and back through ocean swells and swarms of relentlessly stinging creatures.

During the swim I faced grueling conditions. I did the swim despite scours of blue bottles that was not our usual amount. The blue bottles were there for most of the swim. There were so many I could not swim around them, so had to stop most of the time to pull them off me. I never experienced that much pain in my life. And then the water conditions got very rough, along with the water temperatures that fluctuated between 9ºC to 14 ºC (48ºF-57ºF).”

The dynamo with energy and smiles in abundance used the opportunity to raise funds for another brave soul, cancer survivor Natalie Cohen. “My mission in life is to inspire people to push the boundaries of their body’s capacity, but I am equally passionate about contributing to those less fortunate in our community. The plight of this little girl is something that is very close to her heart. I lost my own father to cancer a few short years ago, and the courage he showed in fighting the disease is something that young Natalie also has.”

Despite the excruciating pain brought about by the innumerable blue bottles, the Capetonian smiled even wider upon her finish. “I am absolutely thrilled about having completed this harrowing swim. I learned a few hard lessons along the way such as always taking along enough food. This time I ran out, but luckily my stamina and mind pulled me through. The water conditions were rough with heavy swells part of the way and blue bottles just about everywhere I have the sting marks all over my body including my face.

I have been a swimmer and water sports enthusiast as far back as I can remember, and firmly believe that swimming is the one sport that everyone can relate to, regardless of culture, age or nationality. The idea of an open water swimming marathon is exciting to many people. I hope that this inspires other young men and women to push their own boundaries, and to use their own talents to better the conditions of others

Copyright © 2012 by World Open Water Swimming Association