The aQuellé Midmar Mile delivered an action packed weekend of swimming with thousands of swimmers and a huge international contingent taking part in the two day event in Pietermartizburg, South Africa. The world’s largest open water swim race also served as the first ever GSS African Championships.
The event brought in well over 12,000 swimmers. With so many swimmers taking part, race organizers arrange heats of the Mile to be run over the course of 2 days. The water levels were up this year and so were the numbers for the attendance of the race. Swimmers came from all over the world to compete in the world’s largest open water swim race. The conditions were a little choppy in the Midmar Dam on Day 2, which did have an impact on the times being slower than other years, but it definitely didn’t do anything to dampen the excitement around the race.
Ashley Twichell of the USA successfully defended her title from last year, winning the women’s race in a time of 19:12. This is Twichell’s 4th time winning the event and she was dominant this year winning by over a minute over Canadian Marit Anderson. South African open water star Michelle Weber crossed in 3rd.
On the Men’s side of things it was one of the most hotly contested races in recent years, with a broad international field of competitors. The race was close early on with a lead pack of about five swimmers. Amongst them was South African and 7-time Midmar Mile Champion Chad Ho. Ho was looking to claim his 8th title this year but had his work cut out for him.
It was around the halfway point Russian swimmer Kirill Abrosimov pulled away from the pack. Abrosimov had a large separation but appeared to be on a wider line than the chase pack of swimmers. In the end Abrosimov crossed the line in 1st with a time of 18:56, becoming the first Russian to ever win the Midmar Mile. The battle for 2nd came down to a sprint photo finish that ended up with Great Britain’s Ashley Togg edging out Chad Ho by a hair at line.
The aQuellé Midmar Mile once again proved to be an action packed and fun weekend that is a true spectacle in the world of open water swimming. Don’t worry though, the GSS action will continue just a few hours away in Cape Town, South Africa for the Sanlam Cape Mile this weekend. Many of the swimmers from Midmar will make the trip to do the back to back weekends of racing and a shot to earn some more GSS points.