Last swims for Midmar

2013-01-12 00:00

PIETERMARITZBURG — Just a month remains until the Midmar Mile. The world’s largest open-water swimming event, which this year celebrates its 40th anniversary, takes place on February 9 and 10.

Seeding events in KZN have been completed, but swims in Gauteng and the Free State still offer opportunities to secure a good starting place.

Maselspoort Dam, just outside Bloemfontein, hosts the Time Freight Kovsie Challenge today and in Gauteng, swimmers can qualify at the Pastel Ebotse Swim Challenge at the Rynfield Dam today and tomorrow.

The final seeding opportunity takes place next weekend at the Heia Safari Ranch in Muldersdrift, which will host the Time Freight Lake Heritage Water Festival.

Midmar Mile race organiser Wayne Riddin is expecting a surge in entries as schools start the new year.

The seeding events, he said, play an important part in ensuring the smooth and safe running of the iconic event.

“They encourage swimmers to start swimming earlier in the season and build up their fitness, as well as allowing us as organisers to rank everyone when we come to seed them into the five batches per race, which makes it a safer event for all competitors.”

Riddin provided further motivation for those who have not yet entered the iconic event, when he added: “In order to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Midmar Mile, we will be providing all finishers with a special edition medal and swim cap.

“Although the event is already recognised as the world’s largest open-water swimming event, we are hoping to break our official World Guinness Book of Records mark of 13 755 finishers, so another added incentive for all competitors will be the chance to have a hand in setting a new world record!”

Seven-time women’s champion Keri-Anne Payne, a two-time world champion over 10 km, has confirmed her participation in the Midmar Mile, as has the United State’s Ashley Twichell, who pushed Payne all the way to the finish in 2012.

Three-time defending men’s champion Chad Ho is sure to be challenged by two-time winner Troyden Prinsloo, who represented South Africa in the 10 km open water swim at the London Olympics, for the men’s crown.

Online and manual entries for the Midmar Mile close on January 21. Late entries will, however, be taken, as is the case with all qualifying events.

A change has been made for the longer-distance events of the Midmar Mile, which will now be held on Monday, February 11.

The Masters and age group three-kilometre swim, made up of two 1,5 km laps, will began at 7 am. At 8.30 am, elite swimmers will set off on the 10 km swim on a 2,5 km course, which will also allow for distances of five kilometres and 7,5 km.

More details on www.midmarmile. — WR.

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