Olympian Townsend aims for a fun Mile

2017-02-08 06:02
Olympic gold medalist Darian Townsend at a press conference at the Natal Canoe Club last week.                             PHOTO: ian carbutt

Olympic gold medalist Darian Townsend at a press conference at the Natal Canoe Club last week. PHOTO: ian carbutt

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THIS weekend sees the 44th edition of the 2017 aQuelle Midmar Mile taking place and Olympic gold medallist Darian Townsend said he is excited to return to South Africa to have fun against a strong field of swimmers.

Townsend comes with a wealth of home-grown experience, having participated in the swim since he was a child.

The 32-year-old swimmer said while the race was at the back of his mind, he was not getting ahead of himself.

He said he wanted to enjoy himself rather than put pressure on himself.

“It’s all about having fun. I started coming when I was six years old. I love it here. I’ve missed some of the races, but I’m happy I could make it this year. I’m really excited by how much the event has grown. It’s really amazing.”

The Midmar Mile race raises R2 million for various charities “through the efforts of some 120 brave swimmers tackling all eight miles over the two days as well as 12 swimmers tackling the 16-mile journey,” event director Wayne Riddin told the reporters.

Expected to dominate the main race again is seven-time champion Chad Ho, who will be looking to maintain his unbeaten run.

Dutch swimmer Ferry Weertman, who took gold in the 10 km open water swim at the Rio Olympics last year, will also be in the front at the Mile on February 11 and 12.

Asked if he was aiming for a top 10 finish, Townsend said he prefers to take it year by year.

“Let’s see what happens — but I’m not pressuring myself. I’m here to have fun and enjoy myself, that’s all.”

The competition, first held in 1974, is the world’s largest competitive open water swimming event with eight races over a two-day period.

— Reporter.

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