Chad Ho makes it five in a row, while American Ashley Twichell wins women’s race

2014-02-10 00:00

KWAZULU-NATAL’S other swimming Chad, Chad Ho, won his fifth consecutive Midmar Mile when he pipped Troyden Prinsloo at the finish by 0.8 of a second after a nail bitingly close race in which they were neck and neck from the start.

It was the closest finish ever in the history of the Midmar Mile.

Ho extended the record he broke last year for most Mile victories with his fifth win. The previous holders of that record were Gareth Fowler and Ryk Neethling with three victories each. Prinsloo is himself a former two-time champion.

The race was neck and neck all the way to the end, and Ho eventually won a sprint on foot at the end and pipped Prinsloo — who slipped — at the finish.

A tired Ho, who had managed to get himself half a body length in front after the halfway mark before Prinsloo managed to claw his way back, was delighted with his win.

Speaking about his race, Ho said he had to fight his way to the front earlier on.

“I got into my line and swam the whole way and made sure no one was on either side of me. In the last 25 metres I just put my head down and pushed to the finish and lucky I got the win. I’m very grateful for that,” Ho said after the race.

His immediate aim was now to celebrate the win, and take each year as it came. He seemed to avoid the question of whether he was aiming to go for 10 Midmar Mile wins, which would be one win more than Bruce Fordyce who won the Comrades Marathon nine times.

“We’ll take it one year at a time. You never know what’s predicted for the future. Right now I’ll celebrate the fifth one and we’ll take each year as it comes,” he said.

An understandably gutted Prinsloo said he knew it was going to be a tough race, but was happy with how it went.

Having had a better start than he did last year, when he also finished second, Prinsloo said he struggled at bit early on.

“I felt a little sluggish at the start, but once I got into some clear water, I could see Chad on the left and when I got next to him, I felt like it was definitely going to be a close race. I’m glad I was able to push him the whole way, ja, but, I’m looking forward to next year.

It was a fitting finish to the 41st Midmar Mile which had also seen last year’s reigning champion, American Ashley Twichell beat Briton Keri-Anne Payne, with South Africa’s Michelle Weber coming in in third place in the women’s event.

Despite Payne also doing all eight miles for charity, Twichell knew that it was going to be a hard race.

“I knew she was doing all eight, and people kept on saying ‘oh you don’t have to worry about it’, but she’s an unbelievable swimmer … I knew she was going to be there the whole time.

“The fact that it was her seventh swim, I was hoping it would work to my benefit in the end, I was hoping I’d have a little more speed,” the American said after winning a race she claimed was one of her favourites.

Weber, who was the first South African over the line, was also impressive as she finished third, especially after she had undergone a heart operation just four months ago.

It was her second consecutive third place finish, and she was looking to claim the title at some point in the future.

“For next year, I’m just going to put my head down and train as hard as I can and just prepare myself for the next one,” said the former youth world champion and 2009 and 2010 Midmar Mile U13 champion.

Men’s results

1. Chad Ho 18 minutes, 18 seconds

2. Troyden Prinsloo 18:18

3. Myles Brown 18:43

4. Danie Marais 18:44

5. Christopher Mcglynn 18:45

6. Mark Meyer 18:47

7. Ayrton Sweeney 19:36

8. Josh Dannhauser 19:55

9. Brendan Levy 19:56

10. Reuben Schoeman 20:03

Women’s results

1. Ashley Twichell 19 minutes, 45 seconds

2. Keri-Anne Payne 19:47

3. Michelle Weber 20:29

4. Kyna Pereira 20:30

5. Carmen le Roux 21:08

6. Erin Gallagher 22:13

7. Tasmin Tennant 22:22

8. Megan van Wyk 22:22

9. Lexie Kelly 22:25

10. Jessica Whelan 22:25

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