For Mervyn Bremner, the best part of open water swimming is the feeling of total freedom. In 2019, Mervyn will attempt his 40th Consecutive aQuellé Midmar Mile – and his 147th to 154th Official Crossing of Midmar Dam. His love of swimming took him to the dam for the first time in 1979 and in 2004 together with Stan Kozlowski started the 8 Mile Club. While he describes his most memorable aQuellé Midmar Mile moment as swimming with his daughter Sam on her first Mile, every Mile has had its moments.

Being an 8 Mile Club member, Mervyn swims to raise to money for a charity, and the charity that he puts in all the effort and hard work for is Childhood Cancer Foundation South Africa (CHOC). “This organisation does so much for children suffering from cancer,” commented Mervyn. “It’s a privilege for me to dedicate my swims to them.”

We asked Mervyn how he keeps going when the going gets tough. He explained that, for him, the third event on both days is the most challenging. “At times like this, you have to think about the actual purpose of the 8 Mile Club, which is to raise much-needed funds for these charities,” he shared. “The other thing that I keep close to my heart is that there’s only one left. I just hang in there and then enjoy the final one.”

When it comes to training, Mervyn follows a year round training schedule in order to be ready for the aQuellé Midmar Mile weekend. “I swim a kilometer every day from Monday to Friday, and take on a sea swim in Camps Bay on Sunday mornings,” he told us. “Over and above that, I participate in most of the open water swimming events held in the Western Cape.”

Mervyn’s words of advice to anybody taking on the aQuellé Midmar Mile for the first time in 2019 is to relax, not panic and enjoy the experience.