KZN swimmer does it in style

2008-02-11 00:00

KZN’s Shaun Dias saved the best for last as he held off a strong challenge from Chad Ho to win the men’s title in the 14 to 30 years category, at the 35th Halfway Telkom Midmar Mile near Howick yesterday.

After a disappointment in last weekend’s Telkom SA Open Water Championships held in Elgin, near Cape Town, Dias showed superb rhythm in taking the lead from the start as he set his first aim to reach the 1 200-metre mark.

“I was really disappointed after not winning in Elgin, but this effort should make the national selectors realise just what I am capable of and hopefully they will still keep me in mind for the national team that will compete at the World Open Water Swimming Championships in Seville,” said Dias, after winning in 19 minutes five seconds.

KZN’s Ho and Hungarian Csaba Gercsak collected silver and bronze in 19.06 and 19.19 respectively.

“Today, I knew that I would need to keep something in the tank in case the race went down to a sprint finish, and my stomach was hurting as I used all my energy in heading for the marks with 800 and then 400-metres to go,” said Dias.

Earlier, Hungary’s Erika Hajnal took a step closer to her Olympic dream in claiming the women’s title in 20.27, from Pinetown-based Melissa Corfe, who finished three seconds off the pace. Melanie Greyling took third spot in 21.48.

“I have been training hard in the swimming pool as I work towards posting Olympic qualifying times at the Telkom SA National Championships in Durban in April, and the big difference between pool and open water swimming is that there are no ropes or markers to keep a swimmer on a straight course in the dam,” said Corfe, who has been among the first three finishers since 2001, having won the title in 2003.

“I started on the left and felt good going through the halfway mark even though I wasn’t quite sure where the Hungarian was swimming … But I drifted to the right hand side during the second half of the race, which cost me some valuable time.”

Race organisers confirmed that 16 100 swimmers took part in this year’s event.

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