PREPARATION is key for swimmers looking to make a splash at this year’s Merrifield Mile, coming up on February 26 at Wriggleswade Dam.
To complete the two main distances available, the 1.6km Mile and the 500m dash, casual swimmers will want to be fit enough to have fun and competitive swimmers will want to be fast enough to have a shot at the many prizes available in each category.
There is also a short course event – the Spur Splash – for children younger than nine, but for this it is enough just to be competent on a pool noodle!
“Swimmers should be doing at least two sessions per week,” advised Stanmore Aquatics owner, Marcelle Manson, who is also a former Springbok waterpolo and Springbok hockey player.
“For the dash, the swimmers should be concentrating on the shorter distance training and speed work since it is such a short, fast and exciting event.
“You want to make sure you are fit enough to be able to go at your fastest for the full dash,” Manson said.
“As for the mile, I would encourage the swimmers to be swimming longer swim sets at training. The Merrifield Mile, as fun and social as it is, is still 1.6km of hard swimming. So for average swimmers I would suggest you do 1km to 2km training sessions and then, for the speedsters, they should be aiming at doing 3km and more per training session.”
Manson encouraged swimmers of all abilities to get involved. “The Merrifield Mile has become such an important sporting event in East London that I encourage all families to enter. Swimming is such a fantastic sport to do, whether you are young, old, fast or slow.
“This event especially caters for all the family and friends and is a great day out to enjoy.”
Merrifield Prep School Head Debbie Lacey, a keen swimmer herself, said she had noticed an upswing in swimming training ahead of the Merrifield Mile.
“It’s count down time!
“Pools around town are getting busier with swimmers upping their training to improve on last years’ times. Others are getting advice on stroke correction, while the stalwarts are in the process of finding a costume that fits and heading for a few swims to jolt the old muscle memory,” she said.
“Whichever category you fall in, be it Mile or Dash, we suggest you join in the training efforts. Put up a challenge among your colleagues, teammates or friends and join us for a fun family day outing on the banks of the Wriggleswade Dam,” she said.
Lacey had a special challenge for the school swimmers, as there is a prize up for grabs for the high and primary school with the most entries on the day.
“Merrifield students are out in force and you will see a very busy pool every morning before school. Both prep and college have been given a challenge of completing specific distances which is dash or age appropriate. The swimmers are fired up and we challenge other prep and high schools to come swim with us.”
Event organiser and school marketing manager Tracey Mangold urged swimmers to get their entries in for the 15th edition of this popular event.
Each swimmer receives a goody bag and swimming cap, to be collected at registration at Merrifield School on February 25. All entries can be done online at www.merrifieldmile.co.za, at Sportsmans Warehouse in Retail Park, Cycle HQ in Nahoon or at Merrifield, on the corner of Bonza Bay road and the N6.
Entries cost R110 for the longer swims, open to swimmers aged 9 and over, and R80 for the Spur Splash which is open to children aged 9 and under. Entries remain open through to Sunday morning where late entries, at a cost of R150 cash, will be accepted until 11am at Wriggleswade.
All information is available at www.merrifieldmile.co.za. For further details, contact Tracey on (043) 748-6094 or email email@example.com