Congratulations to everyone who swam at Midmar. Yet again it was a poignant reminder that it’s not always about winning but is always about swimming. Perhaps the best example of this camaraderie is co-founder, Mike “Buthy” Arbuthnot, the only man to have swum every Midmar Mile. Buthy and his willing assistant, Felicity Kromhout, swam backstroke with Neville Lawrence, a blind swimmer, nestled between them as they guided him across the dam. While we are on the subject of helping, who will ever forget the sight of Sibusiso Mogale, with his ever-so short arms helping polio survivor, Hendrik van der Merwe, out of the water and into his wheelchair at the finish? And how about our very own Tadhg Slattery who gave his Paralympic Team SA tracksuit top to Wayne Riddin in appreciation of all that he has done for disabled swimmers? Oh yes, Midmar is about so much more than the times! Having said that, here are a few of the times accomplished by some very special people!
Craig Groenewald continued his previous form and won his title in 21:58, ahead of the Ironman swimmers! Hot on his heals was deaf swimmer, and 2000 Sydney Olympics Silver Medallist (200m breaststroke), Terence Parkin.
School girl and Beijing Paralympic Gold Medallist, Shireen Sapiro, (picturedright with Adri Visser) was the first physically disabled person over the line in 24:20, just two minutes behind Craig and Terence!
Tiaan du Plessis followed Shireen home in a time of 25:07 and Carl Shreuder swam a 27:19.
Thirty-eight year old Chad Gifford, (left) who has no lower limbs, wheeled himself across the timing mat in 36:13 with the ever popular, Adri Visser, tailing him in 38:54 to come in 3rd for the ladies. Hendrik and Sibusiso, pictured on our front cover, finished an exhausting 48 minutes after the start. Well done to you all and many thanks to the sponsors, without whom such an uplifting event just would not be possible.
All photos kindly provided courtesy of Actionphoto SA, official photographers of Midmar 2009.