Nick Gordon
1 minute read
8 Feb 2014
7:00 am

Chad chases fifth win

Nick Gordon

The annual pilgrimage of swimmers to the waters of KwaZulu-Natal for the legendary Midmar Mile takes place this weekend with a list of top names vying for victory at the 41st edition of the race.

Chad Le Clos competes during the Swimming Men's 100m Butterfly preliminaries heat five on day fourteen of the 15th FINA World Championships at Palau Sant Jordi on August 2, 2013 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

All eyes will be on Chad Ho when he bids to make it five victories at Midmar Dam, but he could have his work cut out for him with the likes of double Olympian Troyden Prinsloo and Myles Brown, who has won age-group titles at this event, chasing him.

In the women’s race meanwhile, defending champion Ashley Twichell should prove tough to beat after winning the Swim the Swan 10km open water event in Australia last weekend.

With seven-time champion Keri-Anne Payne opting to swim the event for charity this year, as part of the Eight Mile Club, it is unlikely that the Great Britain Olympian will mount a challenge as she aims to realign her goals before beginning her campaign towards the open water event at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

South Africa’s hopes will rest on the shoulders of Michelle Weber as she looks to improve on her third-placed finish at the Midmar Dam last year. Weber had to undergo minor heart surgery after the World Championships in Barcelona last year but admits that she is looking forward to challenging for a top five spot again this year.

“Last year, I was so excited, even shocked after the race. I was so, so happy,” Weber said as she reflected on last year’s race before looking ahead to the start of the event today.

“I think I am in good enough form to compete for a place in the top five.

“My fitness is getting a lot better. I’m not in peak form, but I’m really happy where I am at the moment. I’m just going to try my best. I always go to Midmar to have fun. That’s the main thing.”