ONE of the world’s largest open water swimming race, The aQuellé Midmar Mile will be taking place this Saturday, February 8 until Sunday, February 9.With over 10 000 local and international swimmers flocking every year to Midmar Dam, the Midmar Mile dates back to 1974 when just 153 swimmers participated, and has since become South Africa’s premier open water swimming event.The race sees swimmers from all walks of life, from six-year-olds who are participating for the first time, all the way to a few well-known octogenarians, with all having different causes to support and points to prove. This year there are eight swimmers who will be participating in the fifth official 16 Mile Challenge, who will be raising funds for the Duzi Umngeni Conservation Trust (DUCT) along with a number of the event’s other charities. The Midmar 16 Mile Challenge requires the swimmers to complete each of the four-mile events on the Saturday morning and then swim back to the start after each mile, averaging thirty-five minutes or less per mile with just ten- or fifteen-minute breaks between swims. Then they have to do it all over again on Sunday morning.Each swimmer has committed to raise at least R20 000 for charity. Samantha Kruger, one of the 16 Mile Challenge swimmers expressed how this race has taught her many life lessons, one being that “success is not achieved in isolation”, acknowledging the tremendous support she has received from her family and coaching team. Reino von Wielligh has participated in the aQuellé Midmar Mile for the past 17 years and this year will be his third year participating in the 16 Mile Challenge. Reino attributes his efforts and passion to wanting a healthier and better functioning river system. “I enjoyed every moment of the swimming knowing that I am swimming to better the lives of everyone around me by keeping rivers clean,” he said.Anyone who would like to help the swimmers to achieve their fund-raising targets is welcome to contact DUCT at email@example.com. All swimmers are encouraged to “just keep swimming” whenever they feel like giving up.