SA Olympian eyes third Midmar Mile win

29 January 2014

If one is seeking contenders to prevent Chad Ho from extending his run of four successive victories in the aQuelle Midmar Mile, look no further than two-time champion Troyden Prinsloo, who is looking forward to an opportunity to record a third victory in the world’s largest open water swimming event.

A two-time Olympian, Prinsloo contested the 1 500 metres in 2008 in Beijing and the 10 kilometre open water swim at the 2012 Games, where he finished twelfth. To book his place in London, he had to defeat Ho in an Olympic qualifier.

In 2013, though, Ho, a former Fina World Championship bronze medallist over five kilometres, reigned supreme in the aQuelle Midmar Mile, winning by a comfortable 11 seconds over Prinsloo, who didn’t enjoy one of his better days.

‘Can’t be disappointed’

“I was sick, so I can’t be too disappointed with a second place finish, but at the time I was trying to focus more on the 10 kilometre swim,” he recalled. “On the day Chad just had a better race than me. In a way I felt I did underperform, but I wasn’t too unhappy about the result. Hopefully this year things will go a bit better.”

Winning a third Midmar Mile title remains a big goal for Prinsloo, who was poised to secure his third victory in 2007, having won the event the previous two years, but Mother Nature had other plans. A storm blew over the dam, resulting in big and dangerous waves, which made it unsafe to hold the final event, the men’s race. With safety being something that could not be compromised, a decision was taken to cancel it and so for the only time in the Midmar Mile’s 41-year history a race was called off, which was a really rough break for Prinsloo, who had flown out from the University of Georgia intent on taking out the title.

“I have come second for the last two years. I didn’t swim Midmar too much before that because I was studying in the United States, so I’m looking forward to this year’s race,” he said. “I’m sure Chad is looking forward to it also and hopefully it will be an exciting race.”

Midmar Mile preparation

For a man who usually swims over 10 kilometres, contesting a mile-long swim comes with its own challenges, Prinsloo explained: “I think you have to prepare a lot more for the shorter stuff, and you have to focus a lot more on your speed. There are a lot of different ways you have to prepare in your training for the shorter distance. It’s completely different to a 10 kilometre swim. I think the preparation for swimming the Midmar Mile is crucial.”

Before he can turn his sole focus to the event, however, Prinsloo will be heading to Australia to swim in the 10 kilometre open water event for South Africa in the BHP Billiton Aquatic Super Series against Australian, China, Brazil and Japan.

‘Excited’

“I’ve been focusing on Australia and I’ve been looking forward to Midmar for a while now, so I’m going to be excited to get back from Australia and hopefully have a good race.

“I’ve been training with Myles Brown,” he added. “We’ve done some good training together and I know we are both looking forward to the Midmar Mile.”

The aQuelle Midmar Mile takes place on 8 and 9 February. A significant fund-raiser for charities, it is an event for everyone and participants include swimmers with multiple disabilities through to Olympic champions and world record holders.

SAinfo reporter