18 January 2024 – Organisers of the aQuellé Midmar Mile have confirmed that Australian Nick Sloman will head up the international field taking part in this year’s race.
The 2019 men’s champion will head back to the famous KwaZulu-Natal race after the World Aquatics Championships in Doha and has set his sights not only on regaining the title, but on breaking seven-time winner Chad Ho’s 2016 course record of 17 minutes.
It’s a case of unfinished business as the last time Sloman competed at the aQuellé Midmar Mile, he finished just one second off the record.
“The Midmar for me is basically just redemption for the last time I was there,” he explained. “The goal was to break the record and I pretty much matched it that year. Now I’ve come back fitter, smarter and wiser so I have no doubt that I have the ability to break it. I’m just praying for the right conditions on the day that will hopefully help me.”
Despite just missing out on the record last time out, Sloman has fond memories of the world’s largest open water race.
“I’m very excited to be racing this year at Midmar. It’s been a couple of years since I last did it and it’s still one of the highlights of my career – it’s a fantastic atmosphere that the South Africans put on and it’s one of the biggest participation races ever recorded so it’s amazing to be a part of it.
“People were so friendly last time I was there. It was sort of the start of my career internationally so they were very welcoming and I’ll never forget the race atmosphere and just being part of something big.
“Hopefully this year can be the year that I can break that 17 minutes and be the first swimmer to do so. Obviously, I’ve raced Chad Ho in the past and I know how good he was but just me being fitter, wiser, more mature – I know what my body is capable of and I’m confident that I can break that 17-minute barrier,” added Sloman.
The 26-year-old was part of the Australian team that clinched the bronze medal in the open water team event at last year’s World Aquatics Championships and is targeting another podium place at this year’s event in Doha before competing at his first Olympic Games in Paris later in the year.
“My training is going really well,” he said of his preparations. “I’m doing some really solid sets. The five weeks heading into Doha we hit that 80km mark per week so it can get quite challenging but overall I’m feeling fit and feeling confident and ready to race in Doha,” he explained.
“This year would have to be one of the biggest years of my career. I’m aiming for that Olympic debut but obviously I’m an athlete who tries to aim for the top so I’m not going to shy away from wanting to be the best in the world and I’m aiming to do that. I’ve had some good results in the past few races so I guess the sky’s the limit really on what I’m able to achieve and I’m looking forward to racing these big races the next couple of months.”
The aQuellé Midmar Mile takes place from 8-11 February with entries still open – and available at www.midmarmile.com
There is one more official seeding swim before the event, which takes place at Prime View Adventure & Leisure in Midrand this weekend, on 20 and 21 January. More information is also available on the aQuellé Midmar Mile website.