Ho eyes Midmar legacy

2016-02-10 06:00
Chad Ho (left), the most successful male swimmer in the history of the Midmar Mile, was joined by race founder Mike ‘Buthy’ Arbuthnot, who will be swimming his 43rd consecutive Midmar Mile this year, at the official press launch for the event. PHOTO: brad morgan

Chad Ho (left), the most successful male swimmer in the history of the Midmar Mile, was joined by race founder Mike ‘Buthy’ Arbuthnot, who will be swimming his 43rd consecutive Midmar Mile this year, at the official press launch for the event. PHOTO: brad morgan

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CHAD Ho will be aiming for a seventh Midmar Mile victory in succession this weekend.

If he wins, he will take over sole ownership of the record for most consecutive titles, which he currently shares with Natasha Panzera.

“I managed to get the most consecutive men’s wins quite a while ago. Now I am just trying to continue with that record. I want it for as long as I can hold onto it,” he said at the official media launch for this year’s Midmar Mile held recently.

“It is not something that I focus on,” he added. “When race day comes I focus on my race and swim the best that I can swim. I would like to leave a legacy in this race and I challenge anyone out there to beat my record. Records are meant to be broken. I don’t know how long it will stand for.”

With a smile, he recalled his first Midmar Mile, way back in 1997.

“I started off right at the back with a white cap. I swam with my swimming coach at that time, Nick Gray. It was a lot of fun. I have pictures of myself with my little head bobbing out of the water, doing breaststroke. It was a great experience.

“I came back the next year and I was among the blue caps, so I was stoked I had jumped up a few batches. I definitely encourage all people to not be competitive, but just come and swim it. It is a great atmosphere and a great day out,” Ho reckoned.

This year, he said, he has persuaded some friends to swim it for the first time and he would probably swim with them in one of Saturday’s events before defending his title on Sunday.

Ho is not your prototypical swimmer. He is not six-foot-four, with long arms and big feet, but that has never been an issue or held him back from excelling. He commented: “I don’t fit the standard swimming physique. I’m not tall. I’m 1,72 metres, but that doesn’t matter. I have raced people that are taller than me, that are shorter than me. I guess it all depends on how much you want it and how hard you train.”

The 2015 world champion over five kilometres, who trains under Alisdair Hatfield, suggested his toughest opposition this year might come from his training partner Matthew Meyer.

“Matthew is back again and he should be a real force,” the former Westville Boys’ High pupil stated. “He is taller than me and is also my training partner. Anything is possible. He has his good days and I have my good days. He has his bad days and I have my bad days. It all depends on what happens on the day. I can use my lack of height to get around swimmers a lot quicker than the taller guys. I don’t think of it as either a disadvantage or an advantage. I take it as another swim and I try my best.”

One quality that Ho has never been short of is heart and his drive and determination have seen him first across the finishing line on a number of occasions when the result was up for grabs right until the end of the race.

His first victory came by just one second and it is one that he treasures to this day. “My very first win [in 2010] came down to a photo finish where the two of us [Ho and British star Dan Fogg] stood up together and ran across the line. Luckily, from there it has progressed … I try not to leave it to that. I try to have a bit of a gap at the end. But if it comes down to that, I am ready for it,” he said.

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