Ho wins fourth Mile in a row

2013-02-11 00:00

WHILE there’s a new name on the women’s trophy at the aQuelle Midmar Mile, it was business as usual for Chad Ho (22) in the men’s race as he surged to a record-breaking fourth consecutive victory in ideal conditions.

With talk during the week of the expected dual on the water between Ho and two-time mile winner Troy Prinsloo (27), the pair did not disappoint, Prinsloo chasing Ho all the way, only falling off the pace in the final 300 metres when Ho stepped on the gas.

Ho took the lead from the start, winning the hotspots along the way as Prinsloo breathed down his neck, swimming at Ho’s hip at one stage. However, Ho, enjoying his 16th swim at the event, was always in control and dictated the pace to emerge first from the water. Chasing the two leaders and swimming out of his skin was surprise package Danie Marais (20), whose third sent a clear message that his time in the race will come soon.

Said Ho, “It’s amazing to win again and I said last year I wanted to keep the sequence going. Obviously I will push for five, six wins … who knows, but let’s keep it rolling. It was a tougher win last year as the competition came at me harder and more determined. I went hard from the start, hit the front and set my own pace, keeping my rhythm until the final 300 metres when it was time to surge home. It’s a special swim to me and my family and I somehow always save my best for this event.”

Ho dedicated his win to his late grandmother with her initials ‘PH’ written on his chest. He now focuses on the Fina World Champs in Barcelona, in July, preparing for the open water swim.

Prinsloo, who is becoming an open water 10 km specialist, was gracious in defeat, hinting that the distance was perhaps a little too short for him.

“It was a good race and I stuck with Chad all the way. He is incredible at this event and tough to attack as he finds that extra to stay ahead,” said Prinsloo. “His speed is incredible too, but I will be back. For now, it’s back to training for the Fina World Champs in July, where Chad and I could meet again on the water.”

Marais was upbeat with his swim and said, “Yes, I want to win Midmar one day. Troy and Chad better watch out in the future.”

Mark Randall (27) and Matthew Meyer (14) closed out the top five.

In the women’s race, the USA’s Ashley Twichell (23) broke seven–time winner Keri-Anne Payne’s (25) hold on the race, reversing last year’s result for her maiden victory. Out from Los Angeles with her coach, she described her swim as, “Lots of fun. I tried to get the lead from the start and hold on to that advantage. This is the biggest and most well organised event in the world and I would like to be back. Keri-Anne, despite taking time off after the London Olympics to get married, is an incredible swimmer and was always a threat. I could never write her off, but it’s great to win.”

Payne admitted her preparation was a bit slower, but she enjoyed the swim and would be back, possibly to add more titles to her crown.

South African Michelle Weber (16), the world junior five kilometre champion, came out third to record her best finish in the senior race. “It was an honour to race against such quality swimmers and yes, I was nervous at the start. Now it’s back to training for the nationals in April.”

Hungarian Katinka Hosszu (23), a pool swimmer taking on her debut open water event, was fourth. “This is certainly different to the pool and I need more experience in this type of swimming. It was a great race and my plan was to just do my own thing on the water. I like my own space and having experienced this now, I will be back.”

Another South African, Rene Warnes (21), was fifth.

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