Louw and Lotter make statement in first aQuellé Midmar Mile seeding swim

30 October 2022 – The first seeding swim for next year’s aQuellé Midmar Mile took place at a pristine new venue – Prime View Adventure & Leisure – in Midrand on Sunday.

Pretoria swimmers Henré Louw and Callan Lotter made a statement of their intentions for the 50th anniversary of the event at Midmar Dam from 9-12 February next year, powering to commanding victories in their respective categories.

Swimming as a combined men’s and women’s 1.2km race Louw led the pack from early on and finished in a time of 13 minutes 45, a full 45 seconds clear of second-placed Rossouw Venter, who was just three seconds ahead of Reino von Wielligh.

Speaking after the race, Louw, who has come back from injury and also won the 3km race earlier in the day, said: “This shorter swim was fun. Getting back into the cold water was a bit of a challenge and the wind picked up a little bit from this morning, but it was definitely a good swim.

“My plan was to go out very quick and set the pace for myself and take it from there and see how I felt after the first 200m.”

As for next year’s Midmar Mile, the 20-year-old added: “This is definitely good preparation for Midmar next year. I’m looking forward to the 50th anniversary and racing hard and giving it my all.”

16-year-old Lotter finished fifth overall in the mixed field and was the first woman home in a time of 14:57 with Carli Antonopoulos 40 seconds back in second in 15:37 and 14-year-old Karla Myburgh third in 15:53.

Lotter said she was expecting to come out on top and is looking forward to swimming her first ever aQuellé Midmar Mile next year.

“I’m hoping for a win there. I was supposed to do it this year but then it was too close to Nationals. So I decided to plan everything else so that I can go and swim Midmar next year,” said Lotter, who also finished second in the 3km event on Sunday.

Fellow Pretoria swimmer Reino van Wielligh completed every competitive event on offer over the weekend, from 1.2km up to 7.5km – finishing top three in all of them. The 29-year-old is preparing to take on a remarkable sixth straight 16-Mile Charity Challenge to raise money for Happy Bundles in 2023.

“I’m feeling quite well. I think it’s good training for the 16-mile next year at Midmar. Obviously I’m using the 16-mile to swim for charity and helping those children who are affected by cancer,” he said.

Speaking about Prime View Adventure & Leisure as a new venue, Von Wielligh added: “To me personally, I think it’s one of the cleanest dams or lakes that I’ve swum in in Gauteng so I’m looking forward to more events being here. It’s open for the public so hopefully in the future we can do some training here as well because it’s clean and already set up.”

Meanwhile, also in the field over the weekend were two swimmers who have been part of the fabric of the aQuellé Midmar Mile over the years, 84-year-old Anne Hanson and 81-year-old Derek Fyfe, who will be swimming his 31st Midmar Mile next year. A fit-looking Fyfe came out top in the 71 and over category in the 1.2km swim after finishing in 27 minutes 26.

Race Director Wayne Riddin was pleased with the weekend’s proceedings. “Working with Gauteng Open Water Swimming, I’m quite thrilled with it. They’ve welcomed it because we’re in the sport together and I hope that we can do the same thing in KZN,” he said, also commenting on the impressive level of swimming on display, particularly from the TUKS swimmers.

The next seeding event, for those wanting a good starting position in next year’s race, will take place at Baynesfield Dam in KwaZulu-Natal on the weekend of 12-13 November.

Swimmers are reminded to enter next year’s aQuellé Midmar Mile by midnight on Sunday, 30 October to enjoy the lower entry fee. Visit www.midmarmile.co.za for all the details.