AFCON champ Fish takes to the water for his seventh aQuellé Midmar Mile

26 January 2024 – As the Africa Cup of Nations heads into the Round of 16 this weekend, former AFCON champion Mark Fish isn’t focused entirely on football.

The 1996 winner is still making time for his swimming training ahead of next month’s aQuellé Midmar Mile. 

 “Training is going well,” he explained. “I am in San Pedro in the Ivory Coast for the Africa Cup of Nations… so training as much and wherever I can. I have a small swimming pool here where I swim in the mornings and walk on the beach and swim in the ocean, so training is what it is.”

The former Bafana Bafana star is in the Ivory Coast as part of the CAF Technical Study team to analyse the games at the ongoing tournament but will make sure he’s back in time to swim his seventh aQuellé Midmar Mile on February 11.

“I love coming back to the Midmar because it’s such a fantastic event, well organised, it is an event where everyone takes part no matter the ages, your sizes, the who’s who, we are there to swim and to enjoy the event.

“Each year it seems to be getting better and better for me… I love this event.”

Fish will once again be swimming with his 13-year-old daughter, Isabella – something which makes the event even more special.

“She will be doing her third one. The first year was a little bit nervous for her, the second year she beat her time by 23 minutes, and this year she said she wants to beat 30 minutes, so I have to train a little bit harder if I want to be the one that’s a little bit faster, or to try and keep up to her.”

While Fish is known more for his footballing exploits, having earned 62 caps for Bafana Bafana over a period of 11 years, the defender reckons swimming training isn’t too far from soccer.

“There are a lot of similarities when you train or focus for an event: the discipline that you need to get up in the morning, do the training that you need to do, and then still carry on and do your day-to-day things. Also staying focused on eating the right things and doing the right things, so yes, it’s very similar.

“When you want to do the best you possibly can you certainly do whatever it takes to be in the best possible shape to do the event.

“So, I’m really looking forward to this year’s event where hopefully this time I will end up in front of my daughter,” he added with a laugh. 

While Fish is now an experienced aQuellé Midmar Mile swimmer, having completed his first back in 2017, he had a word of advice to those who might still be deciding whether or not to attempt their first.

“If you’re going to do your first Midmar, come and do it, you will do it, you will finish, and it is a fantastic achievement and a fantastic event. The atmosphere, the organisers, everyone around it makes it an event that you put in your calendar and you work hard for each and every year.

“So if this is your first Midmar, wishing you all the best, keep training and see you on Midmar weekend.”

Those eager to get in on the action at the aQuellé Midmar Mile, which takes place from 8-11 February, have until 31 January to get their pre-entries in. Entries to certain events will be possible at Midmar Dam on race day but at a higher fee. Pre-entry is highly recommended to avoid any delays at the dam. For more information, head to