008: Gracie van der Byl: Distance swimmer


Grace van der Byl finds her bliss by swimming in competitions that are the aquatic equivalent of the Tour de France. It is in the midst of these undertakings when she feels like she is her best, most authentic self. Her swims are an exercise in zen, focusing on the now and surrendering to not knowing. Even her philosophy on shark hazards reads like a koan: It’s not the shark you see that’s the problem; it’s the shark you don’t.” That’s little comfort to Joe Desena, who is afraid of something after all. Who knew?


  1. During life tackle things one stroke at a time.
  2. Don’t overly project into the future, live in the now.
  3. Boredom comes from not setting good enough goals.  Always find new ways to grow.

Panel Notes:

Searchable Terms: long distance swimming, women swimmers, sharks, living in the now, child athletes, Kingdom Swim Series, most difficult swim