Twichell defends her fourth Midmar title

2018-02-12 12:02
Winner of the 2018 Midmar Mile women’s race Ashley Twichell (centre) with third place finisher Michelle Weber (left) and Marit Anderson (right), who came in second.

Winner of the 2018 Midmar Mile women’s race Ashley Twichell (centre) with third place finisher Michelle Weber (left) and Marit Anderson (right), who came in second. (Ian Carbutt)

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Foreign swimmers reigned supreme at the Midmar Mile at the Midmar Dam at the weekend, taking the top two places in the men’s and women’s main races ahead of South African title contenders.

The 45th edition of the world’s largest open water swimming event began on Saturday, but the most anticipated races of the competition, the men’s and women’s 14-30 categories, took place on the second day on Sunday.

American swimmer Ashley Twichell successfully defended her title in the women’s category, while Kirill Abrosimov of Russia took top honours in the men’s race.

Twichell came to the event under a lot of pressure as many were waiting to see whether she could defend her crown and win the race for the fourth time.

But like a true champion, the American did manage to handle the pressure as she defended her title with an amazing time of 19:12 seconds, opening a gap of 1:02 on closest rival Marit Anderson of Canada.

Anderson recorded a time of 20:14 and was followed by the former champion of the race, South African swimmer Michelle Weber in third place just a second later.

This was the first time Twichell took part in any open water event since last year’s Fina World Championships where she won a gold medal.  “I felt pretty strong at the beginning and I didn’t know how far they were behind me, so I just kept going strong all the way through it,” said Twichell.

“I worked hard in training before this race. I normally train in a pool and this was my first open water competition since the World Championships in July. It was nice to go back there in the water and race.”

The water levels were reported to be six percent above the normal level at the dam, but Twichell said that wasn’t much of a problem for her.

“The water here is beautiful and the venue, that’s why I keep coming back. There was a little bit of trouble there but that’s what makes open water fun, so I enjoyed it,” she said. “But I did feel a lot of pressure coming to the race but I have been competing for a while, so I told myself that I know the race and I love it, which helped to ease off the pressure and focus on enjoying the swim here.”

Abrosimov, who was a first-timer in the competition, took the title back to Russia with a time 18:56, while Ashley Hogg of Britain had to settle for a second spot with a time of 19:08, a hair’s breadth ahead of local favourite, seven-time winner Chad Ho.

Ashley Hogg of the UK (front) and South Africa’s Chad Ho sprint to the finish to claim second and third place at the aQuellé Midmar Mile at Midmar Dam yesterday. The men’s race was won by Russian Kirill Abrosimov, while American Ashley Twichell defended her women’s race crown. 

A lifeguard is ready as women’s 14-30 years race of the aQuellé Midmar Mile gets under way at Midmar Dam on Sunday.

Read more on:    midmar mile

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