Proud aQuellé Midmar Mile winners Michelle Weber and Michael McGlynn have set their sights on qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics scheduled for this year.
The 47th edition of the race at the dam in Howick was staged yesterday with only 40 “elite” swimmers taking part in the main event due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The 24-year-old Weber won the women’s event on Sunday with the time of 19 mins 40 secs, while McGlynn successfully defended his title in the men’s race, registering the time of 17:55.The pair, both born in Durban, were on song yesterday on their way to the finish line they claimed all the race’s hotspots, leading from start to finish.
The 21-year-old McGlynn was visibly thrilled to defend the title, but humbly said it’s only a positive start to his even bigger ambitions.
”The Swimming South Africa National Open Water Championships will be held in Jeffreys Bay on Saturday, March 20 and Sunday, March 21 that will be used by swimmers in their attempt to qualify for the Olympics.
“My big goal right now is the Olympics. I had half qualified last year, but I couldn’t go to the next round in Seychelles because of Covid-19 as it rolled around two days before my qualifying race,” he said.
“So, to be able to get back to this form again, to have another crack at it is definitely a good thing and I’m with the chance. It’s been something that I wanted to do since I was a 12-year-old, the London Olympics really opened my eyes.
“I thought my chance was going to be last year but I’m thankful that we all got another opportunity this year to try again.
”Weber, who won the title for the first time since 2016, said she was happy to swim the Midmar Mile after it looked like the event was not going to go ahead at all.
“Literally, two weeks ago we didn’t even know if we were going to swim, so it was all up in the air. So, we prepared for what could happen. I think if you want to do something you prepare for it so that when it comes you are ready,” said the Cape Town-based athlete.
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After winning her first Midmar Mile title in 2016, Weber went on to represent South Africa at the Rio Olympics where she finished in position 19 as a teenager.
“I hope that if I go this year I will do better because now I’m a bit older compared to the last time. Open water is a very mature sport,” said Weber.
Meanwhile, race director Wayne Riddin said it was important for them to ensure the race went ahead even with 40 swimmers because of the fact that they’ve got their 50th anniversary in 2023 and are planning a big celebration.
“It’s good to see these guys performing two weeks ahead of the South African Championships. They needed this to be able to test their fitness and everything and I think we put it there for them,” said Riddin.
“It has been a good show but disappointing that we can’t have a lot of people here, so for me all credit to the guys who came out. They were really good out there and had a good race.”
There will be charity swims later this week, while the virtual race is open until Friday.
Michael McGlynn — 17:55
Danie Marais — 18:25
Connor Buck — 18:31
Michelle Weber — 19:40
Victoria (Tori) Earle — 19:55
Carli Antonopoulos — 20:12