The largest seeding event for the aQuellé Midmar Mile in KwaZulu-Natal, the Sunday Tribune Capital K, takes place at Midmar Dam on Sunday, with the 5km and 10km Challenge races on Saturday.
Apart from being the largest seeding event for the much anticipated 40th anniversary of the aQuellé Midmar Mile, it is also an opportunity for the province’s leading open water swimmers to get in some valuable preparation ahead of the aQuellé KZN Open Water Swimming Championships at Albert Falls in mid-December.
The entries include Michelle Weber, the world junior open water champion, and a two-time winner of the 13-and-under title at the Midmar Mile. Now 15, she scooped the world title at the inaugural FINA World Junior Open Water Swimming Championships in Welland, Ontario, in August.
Midmar Mile race director Wayne Riddin is a former South African Olympic swimming coach (Sydney 2000) and served as an assistant coach at the London Olympics. He’s high on Weber’s ability and says she is capable; much like Ryk Neethling was, of competing over any distance, from 50 metres to long distance events.
Riddin believes she could win the aQuellé Midmar Mile, although she will face extremely stiff competition from American star Ashley Twichell, who narrowly lost out to seven-time Midmar champion Keri-Anne Payne last year, and Katinka Hosszu, who dominated the recently completed FINA/Arena World Cup Series, scoring a remarkable 39 victories and winning the overall title.
Weber will face an interesting challenge in the 3km at the Capital K from Rene Warnes, a top 10 finisher in the Midmar Mile, and Nicole Brits, another swimmer with a confirmed pedigree in the Midmar Mile. Weber will also swim the 10km.
The 5km race boasts probably the biggest entry he has yet seen for that distance, Riddin said – “a very good entry”.
The indication is that entries will top out at about 2 000 swimmers, and Riddin is especially excited by the big entry for the 3km and 5km swims. “It’s very encouraging,” he reckoned.
A field of 2 000 would also be the Sunday Tribune Capital K’s biggest entry ever, “so we want to use that as an indicator as to what could happen at Midmar,” Riddin explained; the Midmar Mile is celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2013 and is hoping to attract a world record entry of 20 000 swimmers.
“The way we organised it for them last year, there were no queues at registration and the timing worked really well. We used the Midmar Mile format at registration and we used it to train our people to do Midmar Mile registration with the bigger numbers,” he added.
Riddin said many of the swimmers taking part in the 5km and 10km events on the Saturday will contest the 3km event on Sunday. “They’ll get quite a bit of mileage in.”
The Sunday Tribune Capital K 1km swim takes place around Munroe Bay, while the 3km swim will be made up of three laps of the course.
With increased prize money, Riddin expects the event to draw more top swimmers than ever before.
For more information on the aQuellé Midmar Mile, visit the Midmar Mile website.