South African open water swimming sensation and Olympian Chad Ho once again rewrote the aQuell├® Midmar Mile record books after the closest finish ever handed Ho victory over regular rival Troyden Prinsloo, handing him his fifth successive victory at the globally renowned event at Midmar Dam in KwaZulu-Natal.
Ho became the first person in the event’s history to win four back-to-back titles in 2013 and, after yet another enthralling clash with Prinsloo this year, stretched his remarkable record by one leading to some even calling him the Fordyce of the Midmar Mile.
ÔÇ£I think my first win also went down to a photo finish too, and hats off to Troy for pushing me the whole way.
Ho spoke passionately of his new record afterwards and, while hoping to continue his unique record, is looking forward to enjoying his feat for the time being.ÔÇ¿ÔÇ¿ÔÇ£Winning five in a row is a huge deal to me!ÔÇØ said Ho.
ÔÇ£Winning just a title means a lot to me so winning five makes me very happy!ÔÇ¿ÔÇ¿ÔÇ£I’ll just look to take it one year at a time but right now it’s all about celebrating the fifth win,ÔÇØ he added.
An appreciably disappointed Prinsloo complimented Ho on his achievement and looked to next year’s event as an opportunity to return and seek his still elusive third Midmar Mile title.ÔÇ¿ÔÇ¿ ÔÇ£Congrats to Chad. It was a great swim,ÔÇØ said Prinsloo.
ÔÇ£I knew it would be tough coming into the race and obviously it’s a bit disappointing [not too have won] but my swim today was much better today than the last two years so I guess I’m still happy.
ÔÇ£I felt a bit sluggish initially but one I found some clear water then I started to get into things a bit better but I guess now I’m just looking forward the SA Nationals in the next few days and we’ll have to see how things go next year.ÔÇØ
Last year’s sixth place finisher Myles Brown enjoyed a ding-dong battle with top five regular Danie Marais with Brown ultimately clinching the final spot on the men’s 14-30 years-old podium.
ÔÇ£It’s so tough trying to swim in a pack like that. When the race starts its chaos. You get knocked around and cut-off, but that is what open water swimming is about and Chad and Troy have mastered that. I’m still learning, but it’s an improvement on last year, so I’m really happy!ÔÇØ said Brown afterwards.ÔÇ¿ÔÇ¿”
[As a previous winner of the boys’ title] I’ve always wanted to win the big race, but saying and doing are two different things. Hopefully [next year] I can end Chad’s streak of five titles,ÔÇØ he chuckled light-heartedly.
Marais finished fourth while Chris McGlynn put in a stand-out effort to round out the top five and claim his best ever Midmar Mile result.
Before the start of the men’s race, proceedings were halted momentarily as Race Director Wayne Riddin joined the family of the late Gareth Beech, a promising swimmer, who passed away unexpectedly and who loved the Midmar Mile, to scatter his ashes.
The Beech family also donated a trophy in Gareth’s memory to be awarded to the leading under-18 swimmer which, fittingly, which went McGlynn.
ÔÇ£I had a good swim today. Top five – I’m really stoked with that,” said McGlynn. “It was a very fast field. Last year I swam it in 20 minutes so to drop another two minutes, I was also really so stoked with that!ÔÇ¿ÔÇ¿ÔÇ£It’s a huge honour for me to be the first person to win the Beech trophy!ÔÇ¿ÔÇ¿ÔÇ£
I really wanted to win that trophy because Gareth was a really good mate of mine. We went to Canada to compete in the Junior World Champs [in 2012] together and to win that trophy makes today even more special.”
Men 14-30 years-old
1.Chad Ho 18.18
2.Troyden Prinsloo 18.18
3.Myles Brown 18.43
4.Danie Marais 18.44
5.Christopher McGlynn 18.45
6.Matthew Meyer 18.47
7.Ayrton Sweeney 19.36
8.Josh Dannhauser 19.55
9.Brendan Levy 19.56
10.Reuben Schoeman 20.03