Youngest Midmar swimmer finishes race in bad winds

2014-02-11 00:00

DESPITE “shocking” weather, the youngest swimmer ever in the aQuelle Midmar Mile, made “famous” in Weekend Witness, managed to make it to the other side of the dam at the weekend.

Four-year-old Seth Hopkins from Johannesburg had to wait a day to swim because the weather was so bad on Saturday afternoon when the family race was meant to happen. “At the start of the race we decided we’d have to pull out because of the weather conditions,” said his mother, Lindsay. “But the officials told us the children were going to swim the next day with the ladies’ race.

“When we got there the next day the wind had already picked up. It didn’t look so bad because it’s quite sheltered at the start, but out in the middle of the water it was really windy and Seth had waves breaking over his head. He did a lot of swimming but also spent quite a lot of time propped up on our backs so he could breathe.”

She said officials told them the weather conditions were some of the worst they’d seen at the race. “There were head-on winds coming at an angle. I swallowed a lot of water. Quite a few other people who were battling were pulled out.

“What I hadn’t considered was how cold it would be. Seth really struggled with the cold and by the time he got to the other side he was purple. It was a bitter-sweet ending because of that. But he’s definitely pleased he did it and is already talking about training for next year.”

Lindsay said the family had a lifesaver next to them the whole way and were given special orange caps to make them stand out from the crowd. “They also pulled us aside at the beginning so he didn’t have to run into the water with the crowd,” she said.

She said many people came up to Seth and shook his hand. “A lot of people had read about him in Weekend Witness. We didn’t expect that. All in all, it was divine.”

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