Merrifield Mile mania at the dam

ENTHUSIATIC SWIMMERS: Merrifield and Beaconhurst pupils enjoying the Mile on Sunday at Wriggleswade Dam, were, from left, Sethu Mayoli, Chloe Velde, Bathandwa Dyantyi and Tiffany Scott who all participated in at the 1.6km main event Picture: SIVENATHI GOSA

MERRIFIELD Mile staged its 16th annual event at the Wriggelswade Dam on March 4th, with hundreds of East London locals flocking to the dam, putting up their gazebos, camp chairs and braai stands under in the blazing sun.

There were four categories: Spur Splash, Terraforce, Merri Dash 500m and the Mile.

The Terraforce 250m was a new addition to the line-up to challenge the 950 participants. who competed. against each other.

Spectators were entertained by music, food stalls, as well as an air show spectacle put on by the Aviation Club which saw aeroplanes flying across the dam.

Merrifield Mile event organiser Tracey Mangold said they were thrilled with the outcome of the event.

“It was a huge success, the crowds really came along to support, the swimmers gave it their all in the water, and even the weather played its part, providing us with sunshine.
“ Adding Terraforce 250m, was a good decision, as there was a big number of people partaking in it,” said Mangold.

GALLERY:Swimmers take a splash at the Merrifield Mile

Structural engineer, Juan Delport, 45, inspired most people by completing the challenging mile. He is only able to use his upper body, as he is disabled from the waist down. to his toes.

Delport’s wife, Nicky Delport, said it was his first time in 20 years partaking in doing an open water competition.

“He usually swims in our swimming pool at home, so when he told us that he wanted to partake in the Mile, we were very excited and supportive.
“We live by faith, so I knew that he wouldwill conquer it,”, said Nicky.

She said her husband’s swimming partner fell sick, ill and couldn’t enter the competition.

“I couldn’t be the bearer of bad news to my husband, because as that would have meant his entry would have been rejected. Luckily we bumped into an old friend, who was able to swim with him.”

“Seeing my husband completing the Mile and crossing the finish line, was overwhelming for my daughter, Kayla and I, because as it takes someone with great courage to do something like this, especially for someone who is disabled,” Nicky said.

Delport finished the mile in one hour 24 minutes and 56 seconds.

Kyle Holmes defended his title once again, by winning the Mile event for the third time in a row, with the time of 19.49, followed by Alfonso Janse Vvan Rensburg with the time of 19.53, and Chloe Velde coming in third place in 19.58.

Velde also participated in the Merri Dash 500m, coming in third place, and being the first female yet again.

Executive Head of Merrifield Preparatory School and College executive head , Dr Guy Hartley, said the event was a wholesome day out in the country and a great event that reflected the ethos of the school.

Full results of the event can be found at


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