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Ho hauls his way to a record sixth Midmar Mile victory
- Updated: February 9, 2015
Beijing Olympian Chad Ho and British speedster Keri-Anne Payne enthroned themselves as the King and Queen of the aQuellé Midmar Mile open water swim with emphatic victories on Sunday.
Racing in ideal, fast conditions, Ho romped to a record sixth successive title, smashing the race record in the process, finishing 12 seconds ahead of Mark Meyer, with Danie Marais securing the last place on the men’s podium, ahead of Jordan le Clos, younger brother of Olympic and world champion Chad.
Despite losing his goggles at the start, Ho produced a majestic performance when he reigned in the leading pack which saw the promising Mathew Meyer claim the first ‘hotspot’ at 400m slightly ahead of a determined Ho and a persistent Danie Marais.
Going into the second ‘hotspot’ Ho had started to take control of the race and threw down the challenge to the contenders who were determined not to lose him and continued to draft off him.
At the 1200-metre mark both Meyer and Marais surged but Ho showed his experience and responded like a true champion, maintaining his composure and lifted his game to claim the third ‘hotspot’ and the race was on.
As they approached the finish line the athletes were edged on by a vocal crowd and with 100m to go it was anyone’s race.
It was at this point that Ho extended his lead and as they exited the water he held the edge crossing the finish line in a time of 17min 04sec slashing an impressive nine seconds off the Polish ace Prezmek Stanzcyk’s record effort of 17:13 established in 2004. The promising Meyer also dipped under the old record posting an impressive 17:12 with a game Dannie Marais completing the podium on a 17:21.
The leading trio were in a class of their own with the chasing pack crossing the line almost a minute behind.
‘Winning Midmar once is an honour so to have six wins now is incredible. I’m very happy.’ said a delighted Ho after the event.
‘I knew it would be a tough race and the record was never in my mind so that in itself is a bonus,’ the delighted Ho concluded. Le Clos followed in 18:10 with yet another promising effort by one of South Africa’s up and coming youngsters Chris McGlynn (18:11) who edged out Josh Dannhauser (18:13).
In the women’s race, Payne extended her record of the most wins in the female division to eight, and in the process denied American Ashley Twichell her hat-trick of wins. Fellow American Stephanie Peacock was third, The first local woman home was Michelle Webber in fifth, just behind British swimmer Holly Hibbott.
She finished a full 30 seconds ahead of Twichell, and despite the ideal conditions she fell a tantalising two seconds short of her own race record. ‘The hard work is paying off!’ said an elated Payne after her race. What a great start to the year.’
At the 400m mark her lead was 30m on the field and at the 800m mark this had been extended to 50m. Going through the final ‘hotspot’ at 1200m this had grown to close to 70m.
Payne’s drive to the finish was unrelenting and she crossed the line in a fast time of 17:35, a mere two seconds slower than her personal best of 17:33 which posted in her maiden victory in 2004.
‘I had no idea where the other swimmers were during the race and decided to go out hard from the start. I am very happy with my swim and the way things went today,’ a delighted Payne said after the race.
As the chasing pack approached the finish it was experience that came to the fore with the Americans edging ahead and the pack spreading out.
The US duo of Ashley Twichell and Stephanie Peacock had a race to the line providing the spectators with an exciting finish and it was the 2013 & 2014 winner Twichell who edged out her compatriot Peacock 18:05 to 18:06 in a photo finish. Hot on their heels was British contender Holly Hibbott a further three seconds back in a time of 18:10.
Next came the South African challenge with former junior world champion, Michelle Weber heading the group with an impressive 18:12 reaffirming her position as the countries’ leading exponent of this multi-faceted discipline.
Weber who had experienced a tough last couple of years is fast regaining the form that promised as a junior athlete and will certainly be in line for competing at the 2015 World Championships in Kazan, Russia in the 10km event. This event serves as the first official qualifying event for the Olympic 10km Marathon Swimming event for Rio and Webber has indicated that she has her sights firmly set on that event.
Rene Warnes, an accomplished open water swimmer who has excelled in pool events at the highest level was the next local lady home in a time of 18:20 ahead of yet another bright prospect Clarice le Roux who posted a 18:26.
Picture of Ho, courtesy of Anthony Grote, Gameplan Media
1 Chad Ho 00:17:04
2 Matthew Mark Meyer 00:17:16
3 Danie Marias 00:17:21
4 Jordan Le Clos 00:18:10
5 Chris Mcglynn 00:18:11
6 Josh Dannhauser 00:18:13
7 Ashley Hogg 00:18:15
8 Luke Erwee 00:18:26
9 Reuben Schoeman 00:18:35
10 Dayne Odendaal 00:18:50
1 Keri-Anne Payne 00:17:35
2 Ashley Twichell 00:18:05
3 Stephanie Peacock 00:18:06
4 Holly Hibbott 00:18:10
5 Michelle Weber 00:18:12
6 Rene Warnes 00:18:20
7 Clarice Le Roux 00:18:26
8 Megan Van Wyk 00:19:01
9 Charlise Oberholzer 00:19:06
10 Madeleine Crompton 00:19:08
1 Tracy-Lea Meyer 00:19:41
2 Zoe Frank 00:21:56
3 Kyla Blakemore 00:22:15
4 Ally Chislett 00:22:36
5 Tamryn Mckie 00:22:39
1 Michelle Vlasakova 00:20:49
2 Sheona Lottering 00:21:44
3 Mandy Loots 00:22:18
1 Dominique Donner 00:22:02
2 Megan Albertyn 00:22:47
3 Barbara Bowley 00:23:04
1 Rita Townsend 00:24:26
2 Gail Bristow 00:24:56
3 Carol Mason 00:25:05
1 Marissa Rollnick 00:28:02
2 Jenny Ireland 00:30:25
3 Bev Shuttleworth 00:30:53
1 Beth Lordan 00:33:12
2 Ann Hanson 00:41:56
BOYS UNDER 13
1 Dylan Somerville 00:20:26
2 Hein Van Tonder 00:20:32
3 Seyuran Perumal 00:20:49
4 Kyle Letley 00:21:13
5 Luke James Pereira 00:21:30
1 Wade Krieger 00:20:07
2 Michael Phillips 00:20:28
3 Owen Sheftz 00:22:11
1 Gary Albertyn 00:20:06
2 Terry Heller 00:20:19
3 Brett Clark 00:20:38
1 Gregg Price 00:20:36
2 Terry Bantock 00:22:45
3 Ted Townsend 00:23:25
1 Derek Wright 00:27:10
2 Robert Schroenn 00:27:53
3 Martin Flekser 00:28:32
1 Paul Lanterme 00:26:55
2 Derek Fyfe 00:28:19
3 Les Hadenham 00:30:34