Two U.S. swimmers prepare for Midmar Mile with extreme training regimes

2014-02-05 00:00

UNITED States professional swimmers Ashley Twichell and Lexie Kelly were gliding up and down the Seals Club pool in Pine Street yesterday, getting some training in before this weekend’s Midmar Mile.

Twichell (24), who won last year’s women’s race by an impressive 15 seconds, had jetted in from Perth where she competed in a race, while Kelly (27) had flown from her home in California. Their lives revolve around swimming — and flying on to the next far-flung event.

Twichell, who specialises in long distances ranging from 1,5 kilometres to 10 kilometres, and won a gold and bronze medal at the 2011 World Championships in Shanghai, is back for her third race at Midmar. She competes in six to eight races a year and said the Midmar Mile is “one of the most beautiful venues and one of the most organised races of its kind, especially considering the number of people involved”.

After Pietermaritzburg, she’ll head for a pool competition in Rio and an open water race in Florida.

Twichell said she trains in a pool, but prefers open water swimming.

“It’s more exciting, every race is different and you get to travel to cool places.”

Kelly (27) agreed. She heard about the Midmar Mile, the planet’s largest open water swimming event, at a conference where she met race director Wayne Ridden. “It’s been on my bucket list ever since,” she said.

Last year, she swam a range of distance from 15 km to a 57 km race on the Parana River in Argentina, and later this year she’ll be attending a camp in the Florida Keys and swimming in a 15 km race in Mexico.

Envious couch potatoes can distract themselves with the details of the training regimes that make this lifestyle possible. Twichell trains 50 to 60 km a week, while Kelly swims eight to 15 km a day and does “lots of cross training”.

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