Swimmers enter the water at the start of the Midmar Mile race at the weekend. Picture: AQUELLE MIDMAR MILE/FACEBOOK/SUPPLIED
Swimmers enter the water at the start of the Midmar Mile race at the weekend. Picture: AQUELLE MIDMAR MILE/FACEBOOK/SUPPLIED

Two 20-year-old Durban swimmers‚ both dreaming of making it to the 2020 Olympics‚ claimed convincing victories in the men’s and women’s races at the aQuelle Midmar Mile on Sunday.

Robyn Kinghorn took the women’s crown in 21 min 16 sec‚ 11 sec ahead of her nearest rival.

Michael McGlynn‚ second in 2019‚ won by more than half-a-minute as he negotiated choppy conditions in 18:26‚ well ahead of two-time Olympian and former seven-times champion‚ Chad Ho in 19.02.

The last time SA competitors took both titles was in 2016.

McGlynn said there had been a lot of debate about the best way to tackle the straight-line course across the KwaZulu-Natal mass of water.

“Everyone was ‘are we going to go left or are we going right?’ and I decided to go with what felt right.”

McGlynn went straight up the middle. He took the lead from the start and he never let up. Even when he tried to look back to see how far ahead he was‚ he was unable to catch sight of his closest rivals‚ who were hidden by the wind-driven swells.

“If it was flat conditions maybe I would have got under 17 seconds,” said McGlynn‚ who gave his mother a hug moments after exiting the water.

The full-time swimmer would like to get to the Tokyo Olympics‚ but he is not sure in which event yet — his options are the open-water 10km as well as the 1,500m and 800m freestyle races in the pool.

Henre Louw was third in the men’s race in 19.07.

Women’s winner Kinghorn led from 400m.

Michelle Weber‚ the 2016 champion‚ had the early lead from the start‚ but Kinghorn‚ taking a different line further to the right‚ pushed into the lead before the first set of marker buoys and from there she increased her advantage.

Kinghorn said afterwards she had no idea of her position. “I don’t know what line I took‚” she said. “I was just zigzagging‚ or it felt like it.”

The psychology and English third-year student at Varsity College‚ who never looked like letting up‚ is turning her focus to the national championships in March, which she believes is an important step towards trying to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.

“It’s my dream to go to an Olympics one day‚ even if it’s Paris [2024] or California [Los Angeles 2028].”

Randle was second in 21:27‚ Victoria Earle (21:30) third and Weber (also 21:30) fourth.

In an age-group race earlier‚ 61-year-old Paul Blackbeard‚ a former overall winner‚ won his race ahead of many men decades younger‚ including two-time champion Terence Parkin‚ the Olympic 200m breaststroke silver medallist from Sydney 2000.

More than 11‚500 entrants completed the Mile‚ held across eight categories.