Prinsloo keen to put the record straight at Midmar Mile

2013-02-07 00:00

MOTHER Nature dealt swimmer Troy Prinsloo a cruel blow in 2007, when inclement weather prevented him from becoming the first swimmer to earn a hat-trick of wins in the Midmar Mile.

He won in 2005 and 2006, only for the weather to thwart his step into history the following year, when the race was called off for the first time in its 40-year existence.

He has had to stand back and watch Chad Ho earn the accolade of three successive wins and this time around, Prinsloo is determined to set the record straight, get that elusive third win and break Ho’s momentum. If he succeeds, he will join an elite club of three-time Midmar Mile winners, which includes Ryk Neethling and Gareth Fowler.

Said Prinsloo: “I am up for a win and am taking the swim seriously. I have stuck to my normal training methods, which I do for 10-kilometre swims, and have taken some time off as the race approaches, concentrating on speed, which is vital in the mile.”

It won’t be the first time Prinsloo and Ho have locked horns at the Midmar event. Ho had the last laugh last year, pulling off a convincing 21-second win over his rival, but Prinsloo has worked on his gameplan and has a different approach this time around.

“Starting together is good for both of us as we spur each other on. This weekend, I plan to be right next to him, get to the front of the pack and take it from there, the best man winning on the day. It keeps us both focused and gives spectators a real race, from start to finish,” he said.

If it’s anything like the 2011 National Open Water Champs, this is a race not to be missed. At those champs, they tied in the 10-kilometre race and Prinsloo edged Ho by a mere 0,32 seconds in the five-kilometre event.

Ho was at the Beijing Olympics, where he finished seventh in the men’s open water 10-kilometre swim, while Prinsloo was at last year’s London spectacle, having qualified with a fifth-place finish in Setubal, Portugal. Ho was a distant 12th.

Taking on the open water discipline has been a new challenge for Prinsloo, who said, “The London Olympics was new ground for me as far as open water swimming was concerned. I have always been a pool swimmer and started the 10-kilometre swims a few years ago. The Olympics was only my third international 10-kilometre swim and I was proud of my 12th-place finish. It has given me confidence.”

It’s all about a good start on Sunday and, with a few years having passed since Prinsloo tasted victory, the desire and determination to taste those sweet juices once again will see him matching his rival(s) stroke for stroke. His third win could be a dream come true.

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