Ryan Stramrood – International Swimmer Speaker

Ryan Stramrood - International Swimmer Speaker
Ryan Stramrood - International Swimmer Speaker

Ryan Stramrood – International Swimmer Speaker

A dip into Ryan Stramrood – International Swimmer Speaker‘s swimming CV is impressive, and cold: he has already completed 76 Robben Island-to-mainland crossings and swam solo across the notorious English Channel. Ryan is now available through Speakers Inc.

With a team of South Africans, he swam the first official “Ice Mile” in -1°C water in Antarctica, completed the world’s first swim around the southernmost tip of South America – Cape Horn – and, again with some extreme friends, was the first, South African male to swim from Europe to Africa across the Gibraltar Strait.

But beyond Ryan’s physical prowess, this born-and-bred Capetonian is a gifted speaker whose telling of a personal journey of challenge and discovery is deeply inspiring.

It’s hard to believe that not very long ago, fitness was not much of a priority for Ryan.

“Couch potato was where I was heading, and eventually I decided I needed to do something. I’d always enjoyed swimming, so I nervously signed up with a small swimming squad. I think I managed about 20 lengths before I was exhausted, but I stuck with it, and after a while I started meeting guys who were doing big things in swimming”.

It wasn’t long before one of those guys suggested that Ryan attempt to swim from Robben Island to Blouberg.

“At first, I thought it was an insane idea; something reserved for elite athletes and nowhere near my aspirations nor abilities. But I trained for it anyway, and in 2003 I gave it a go, and succeeded”.

It was that first Robben Island swim – 7.3km in very cold water – that started Ryan’s journey and got him thinking about what more was possible. Since then, Ryan has been quietly crossing channels and setting records without much fuss or publicity, and still describes his swimming as a hobby – one he undertakes “for deeply personal reasons”.

“I’m not a professional athlete by any stretch of the imagination. Nor am I superhuman. My body doesn’t have any special abilities. My story isn’t about winning or losing or success or failure. It’s a story about pushing beyond my own perceived limitations, about learning. You can do it too, if you really want to”.

It was a moment in the middle of the English Channel in 2008 that really brought the “why” home for Ryan.

“I reached a point in the swim where it was physically impossible for me to carry on. I’d hit the wall. I still had four hours to go to get to France and every part of me was screaming, ‘get out’ and ‘impossible’. Thanks to a strong support team, a bit of grit and for the first time, switching gear entirely from body to mind, I eventually found myself on a French beach many hours later in complete darkness. The experience taught me how the mind is designed to keep you safely inside your comfort zone; to make you believe your limitations. If you believe them, you have no reason to change them”.

Ryan Stramrood – International Swimmer Speaker

Ryan is a South African, a small business owner, a family man and an ‘average Joe’. However, his hobby is Ultra Extreme Open Water and Ice Swimming. He has undertaken some of the world’s most extreme challenges, pushing his limits and human boundaries on our planet’s most inhospitable places.

Following painful, pioneering training techniques and using what limited resources he can to put basic safety procedures in place, Ryan challenges himself by pushing his personal limits for swimming in ice water and he often sets new benchmarks for human endurance.

No wetsuits or protection from the cold water – only a Speedo. His adventures, world-first achievements and the often death-defying circumstances, make for brilliant tales of human spirit and victory.

Ryan takes his audiences on a journey through story telling and strong visuals, he illustrates just how limited and governed we all are, in every aspect of our lives, by believing in our own limitations. How we under achieve in our comfort zones and how each and everyone of us can push past the impossible.

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Ryan Stramrood – International Swimmer Speaker