Midmar Mile: Chad keeps his title

2012-02-13 00:00

DURBAN-BORN Chad Ho (21) yesterday became the first male to win three back-to-back aQuelle Midmar Mile titles.

Ho said he felt honoured to have the record. “This race means so much to me and winning it three times in a row is really special.”

He said his one regret was that his time of 18 minutes, 48 seconds was slower than he had wished.

“The water was very choppy and the dam is fuller than usual, but once I hit my rhythm and pulled away after the first 400 m I felt strong. But I am a bit disappointed with my time.”

Ho said he was humbled by the fact that he could now claim to be South Africa’s premier open-water swimmer, adding that he would be comfortable with it if he did well at the London Olympics in June.

“I have a qualifying event in Portugal on June 10, which is close to the Olympics. But all I want is to do better than I did in Beijing where I finished ninth. Hopefully I can finish in the top 10.”

Jo’burg-born British swimmer Keri-Anne Payne (24), winner of the women’s main race of the Midmar Mile, said she was surprised at her time so early in the season.

“At 20 minutes and 43 seconds it is a really good time for so early in the season. I just hope that I can produce these times closer to the London Olympics.”

This made it Payne’s seventh title as a senior. She won it as a junior while still swimming for South Africa.

This year saw one of the tightest finishes in the women’s race, with Ashley Twichell of the United States pushing herself to the finish only two seconds behind Payne.

Payne said she would now focus squarely on her “hometown” Olympics.

“I have Olympic qualifiers in March when I hope to qualify for the 800 m. I will be really disappointed if I don’t qualify. I have already qualified for the 10 km swim, so the pressure is a bit less.”

 

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