18 November 2022 – The first ever winner of the aQuellé Midmar Mile, Trevor Strydom, has confirmed he will participate in the 50th anniversary of the event from 9-12 February 2023.
Strydom powered to victory in the first ever event at the KwaZulu-Natal dam back in 1974 in a time of 23 minutes 54 seconds. He was an age group provincial water polo player and Iron Man competitor back then but didn’t expect he’d go down in history as the first winner of what was to grow into the world’s largest open water swimming event.
Speaking about the inaugural race in 1974, Strydom recalled: “I can clearly remember standing waist deep at the starting line waiting for the gun to go off feeling pumped with all the buzz from everyone around me in the water at the time.”
He could never have imagined what the event would become.
“I was thrilled to witness the scale of the event again in 1987 when working at Midmar Dam at the time as a Park Ranger,” he said.
Strydom has since moved to western Australia where he works as the manager of a thoroughbred racehorse stud farm but has credited his performance at that first aQuellé Midmar Mile for spurring him on to greater sporting glory.
“The success I experienced at the time in 1974, which included the Midmar Mile, became part of my sporting journey which culminated in becoming a triple Springbok in which I competed in surf lifesaving (USA tour 1979), modern pentathlon and fencing.
“The pinnacle and highlight of my sporting career was competing as a dual Olympian, being selected to compete at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992 in both modern pentathlon and fencing.”
Strydom will be 65 by next year’s race but is eager to once again experience the buzz of the aQuellé Midmar Mile – an event he reckons is made special because: “it’s inclusive of all ages and categories.”
Asked if he still competes in swimming events, Strydom explained: “Occasionally. I have competed in two open water swimming races in Australia. In 2009 I competed in the Busselton Jetty swim and won my category.
“Also in 2009 I swam the Rottnest Channel Swim in a team of four with my family members, Steve Johnston, Sharon Johnston (Bentley) and Dean Johnston. We called ourselves the Natal Otters and won our category in the mixed doubles. I also won competing as a duo team in the 2011 Rottnest Channel Swim.”
Strydom added that he felt “privileged and honoured” to be the first ever winner of the famous race and is relishing his return in 2023.
Meanwhile, the third of the seeding events leading up to next year’s aQuellé Midmar Mile will take place at Prime View Adventure and Leisure in Midrand this weekend. For more details on how to enter, head to www.midmarmile.co.za.