The 2019 Midmar Mile open water race took place over the weekend at the Midmar Dam north of Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. Recognized in the past by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s largest open water swimming event, the race is segmented into group divisions by age, with elite swimmers typically entered in the respective men’s and women’s 14 to 30 group.
Both the men’s and women’s open races (aged 14-30) saw different winners than last year, with 2019’s victors each originating from outside South Africa.
Nick Sloman, 2018 Australian Open Water champion, was the fastest of the men, throwing down a time of 17:01 to take the gold. His time was just off the course record of 17:00 set by 8-time winner Chad Ho of South Africa.
Behind Sloman in the race was 19-year-old Michael McGlynn and 21-year-old Daniel Marins, who finished with the silver and bronze, respectively. Ho finished 7th overall.
Another Australian in Kareena Lee came out on top of the women’s field, with the 25-year-old touching the timepad in 18.20. Lat year’s bronze medalist, Michelle Weber, improved to runner-up status this time around, with Samantha Randle rounding out the top 3.
Also in the race was 16-year-old South African pool swimmer Rebecca Meder. Meder, just 16, finished 8th and just ahead of sister Abigail Meder.
Last year American Ashley Twichell took the win for the women, claiming her 4th victory overall. She wasn’t in the field this year.