Despite being one of the youngest competitors in the field, Chad Ho became the first South African to claim the overall title of the 2010 FINA 10km Marathon Swimming World Cup and took home a whopping $20 000 worth of prize money.
The eight-legged World Cup Series began in Santos, Brazil on 31 January 2010 where Ho finished in second position in a time of 2hr 14min 12.44sec, only 0.41 of a second behind Russia’s Evgeny Drattsev who ended in 2:14:12.03.
Ho continued on to the second leg of the World Cup in Viedma, Argentina on 6 February bringing home the silver medal in a time of 1:51:00, followed by a fourth place finish at the Setubal leg in Portugal on 26th of June.
The fourth leg in Lac St-Jean, Canada on 25 July proved to be a very tough race as the water temperature was a low 16 degrees Celcius. Even though he ended up suffering from mild hypothermia after the event, Chad Ho claimed the bronze medal in 2:05:20.70.
Ho then ended fourth at the Shantou leg in China on 25 September followed by a golden performance at the Hong Kong leg on 3 October. Winning the leg with the highest time difference of all the swims, Ho raced a full 27 seconds ahead of the pack before clocking 2:03:54.40. Germany’s Thomas Lurz took the silver in 2:04:21.50.
Moving to the second last leg in Cancun, Mexico on 9 October and competing against 35 other swimmers, Chad secured a fifth place finish in 2:08:06.3.
The final leg of the FINA 10km Marathon Swimming World Cup took place in Fujairah, United Arab Emrates on 23 October where Ho finished sixth overall but the high water temperature of over 33 degrees caused dehydration among many of the swimmers. It was also where open water swimmer Fran Crippen (USA) tragically lost his life.
ÔÇ£I finished on a high note, being the winner of the Series, but was overwhelmed by the sudden and tragic loss of my friend and fellow competitor Fran CrippenÔÇØ said Ho.
With a total of 122 points accumulated over the eight legs, Ho became the overall winner of this year’s FINA 10km Marathon Swimming World Cup.
ÔÇ£Doing the World Cup Series this year has given me the opportunity to race against the best of the best. It has also given me a better understanding of what I need to do to be the best of the best. I want to thank SASCOC and Swimming South Africa for giving me this opportunity and assisting me to reach my goal for the 2012 Olympics.┬á I strive to continue making South Africa proudÔÇØ said Ho.
Chad Ho has also been nominated for the Open Water Swimming Man of the Year award.
To vote for Chad, see the the link on the right hand side of the Road to London, 2012 home page.