UK Mile swimmers’ setback

2007-12-01 00:00

The participation of the British swimmers at the 2008 Halfway-Telkom Midmar Mile taking place on February 9 and 10 at Midmar Dam has received a major setback due to Swimming South Africa switching their Open Water Swimming Championships to Cape Town and staging the event a week ealier.

The championships have usually taken place at Midmar Dam each year and, for some unknown reason, were moved. The British had intended competing at the 10 km swim at Midmar Dam on February 7 as part of their Olympic preparation and then staying on to compete in the Mile swim on the Sunday.

However, placing the SA Championships just four days before the 10 km race, and that far away has broken a five-year relationship that the Midmar Mile has enjoyed with the British swimmers.

“I am angry about this as we told the national federation about our concerns months ago, and nothing was done about it. We warned them that this would cause difficulties for swimmers getting from Cape Town to Midmar Dam. Swimming South Africa requested to play a bigger part in the Midmar Mile and we agreed that we were happy with this. Yet these decisions get taken that have affected us directly,” said disappointed race director Wayne Riddin this week.

“I have gone back to coach Sean Kelly who we originally dealt with in setting up the date of the 10 km swim to see if we could still get Kerry-Anne Payne and Cassie Patten to the race after they compete in Cape Town. They have been a major part of the top women’s entry over the past five years, with Kerry-Anne winning three in a row until this year. It would be sad if she has to miss the event due to a decision taken by Swimming SA.”

Entries for the 35th Midmar Mile are slightly ahead of previous years and the organisers are hoping to top the 18 000 entry mark for the first time. The second entry closing date is on Monday December 3 before fees are increased once again. Entries can be posted by collecting forms from Game Discount stores or going online at www.midmarmile.co.za.

Inquiries can be made to the events office on 033 341 0790 during office hours.

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