Victory for Mark Randall in the first leg of swim series

2012-11-02 00:00

PIETERMARITZBURG — Pietermaritzburg Seals’ swimmer Mark Randall was the star of the show at the first Time Freight Heia Safari 1 000 swim series event in Mogale City on Sunday, winning both the one-kilometre and three-kilometre open water swims.

The conditions were good after recent rains and the sun shone brightly, which attracted about 200 late entries on the day. That lifted the total entry to just over 600, which was a good field considering the cooler water temperatures on the highveld at this time of year.

Former Alabama University standout Randall was happy to let the more experienced Abdul Malick Railoun, a top performer at the aQuellé Midmar Mile in the past, set the pace on the opening three kilometre swim over three one-kilometre laps on Lake Heritage.

On the final lap, however, it was Railoun who had to chase Randall as they broke away from Gareth Beech and Josh Dannhauser. Randall turned in a fast 12 minute time over the final kilometre to open enough of a lead to hold off Railoun, while Beech led the next batch to claim third place.

Randall’s winning time was 37 minutes and 42 seconds. Railoun finished nine seconds after him, while Beech clocked 38:42.

Series organiser Wayne Riddin, who coaches at Pietermaritzburg Seals, said the 26-year-old Randall, who has represented South Africa at two Commonwealth Games, was not turning his focus to open water swimming yet.

“Guys like Chad Ho and Troyden Prinsloo have come from a pool base and moved from 1 500 m and racing well in the swimming pool to open water. In Mark’s case, we’re looking at concentrating on the pool for a little while longer and then doing the odd three or five kilometre races as part of his training to try and improve his endurance, as well as to improve his speed in the pool itself,” said Riddin.

Among the women, it was Embeth van der Waal who edged out her sister Hannah by five seconds, with Jessica de Beer taking third. Van der Waal’s winning time was 43:23.

In the 1 000 metres race for men, Randall won in 11:44, breaking away from Railoun with 165 metres to go to win by seven seconds. The women’s title went the way of Marlies Ross, who won convincingly in 12:10.

Riddin said a number of swimmers who have starred at the Midmar Mile in the past in their age groups showed fine form at Lake Heritage, including people like Gregg Price and Nadia Bacchini, who have been regulars in the three kilometre event at the Heia Safari Ranch.

Bacchini also won the 1 000-metre event in the 31 to 40 age group, while Rachel Isakov, a top contender at the Midmar Mile, won the 41 to 50 title.

“One of the best performances,” Riddin opined, “was in the men’s 60 to 70 age group by Bill Duncombe, whose time was 20 minutes and 28 seconds. He’s a regular in the Midmar Mile in that age group.”

Terence Parkin, the winner of a silver medal at the Sydney Olympics, when Riddin was South Africa’s head swimming coach, was beaten into second place in the men’s 31 to 40 age group. Michael Phillips took victory in 13:19, with Parkin finishing four seconds behind him and over a minute ahead of third placed, Adrian Goate.

The next seeding event for the 2013 aQuellé Midmar Mile also takes place on Lake Heritage at the Heia Safari Ranch on November18.

“The only change we have to it,” Riddin explained, “is that we try to expose more swimmers to longer distances, beyond one kilometre. We move from a three kilometre to a five kilometre event, so the morning’s racing will start with a five kilometre race, followed by 1 000 m events again.

“Two weeks later, we will have the Northern Tigers Championships, which will double up with the Time Freight Series, and that will be on the December 2,” he added.

To enter or to find out more information about the Midmar Mile, visit

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