POWERFUL Australian swimmers clinched the honours in the men’s and women’s races of the 46th aQuellé Midmar Mile yesterday, with both contests finishing in closely-contested sprints featuring some South African big names.
The popular two-day event at Midmar Dam outside Pietermaritzburg was attended by some 13 000 elite and social swimmers who made use of perfect conditions to enjoy a great time in the water, with many recording personal best (PB) times.
Competing in the colours of Noosa, juggernauts Nick Sloman and Kareena Lee of Australia needed a solid training swimming race in preparation for the World Cup in Doha.
The 21-year-old Sloman set the pace from start to finish to claim the first prize in a time of 17 minutes one second, narrowly missing breaking the record of 17:00 set by seven-time champion Chad Ho in 2015.
He was followed by South African teenager Michael McGlynn who held on to take second position in 17:28, leaving his brother Chris behind in sixth, while Daniel Marais (17:29) sealed third spot.
“I’m a little tired now. I pretty much gave it a 100%. My body is sore, every muscle is sore. I just gave it everything I had,’’ said a visibly-elated Sloman upon winning the event on his first attempt.
“I wanted to break that record, but I had it in my mind that it’s a very fast time and not realising that I actually was on course and by the time I looked up I could see there was no way I could make it.
“But I had a blast. It’s good training ahead of the World Cup to see if I can hold up against some of the world champs in Doha.”
Just like Sloman, the 25-year-old Lee led the women’s race from start to finish, clocking 18:20 on her first Midmar Mile race, ahead of South African swimmers Michelle Weber and Samantha Randle in second and third respectively.
She could not be prouder of her effort. “I’m feeling really good. I knew there was going to be some tough competition and when the race started I decided to stay to the left-hand side because the drag was pushing right and I knew that I had to go faster.
“I had no idea that I had dropped the rest of the girls. I just kept going,’’ explained a chuffed Lee.
Durban resident Weber (22), who has been taking part at the event since she was 11, went one place better this time, clocking her personal best time of 18:34, and said she had a great time in the water. “It was really fun. I love swimming the Midmar Mile.
“I think I would have loved to have done better. But I mean you can never tell what’s going to happen with open water swimming.
“It’s important just to do the best that you can and learn what you’ve done wrong and apply it to your next race,’’ said the University of South Africa (Unisa) Business Management and Economics first year student.
Next for her is the Sanlam Cape Mile this week and she hoped she could learn from her mistakes and hopefully do better on Sunday.
Among those attending the race was Bafana Bafana legend Mark Fish, who completed his third Midmar Mile this year to raise awareness for cancer.
TOP 3 TIMES
Nick Sloman 17:01
Michael McGlynn 17:28
Daniel Marais 17:29
Kareena Lee 18:20
Michelle Weber 19:26
Samantha Randle 19:29