Midmar Mile: A Story of Greatness

This iconic and world’s largest open water swimming competition takes place at Midmar Dam, Howick, Kwazulu-Natal. It began in 1974 when swimmers decided to stage a mile open water race in the Midlands due to being unable to participate in the Buffalo River mile in East London because of national petrol restrictions. It was first organized by Mark Arbuthnot, Dick Park and Brian Glover. When this event began, it had 153 official competitors which all of them were male, with the youngest being a 10-year-old boy. The race was won by Trevor Strydom who went on to represent South Africa at pentathlon.

Today this event hosts thousands of swimmers from international athletes, Olympic medalists, and just recreational swimmers. From the time this annual event was initiated to date it has grown exponentially, with the Guinness Book of World Records recognizing it as the world’s largest open water swimming in 2009 when it had 13 755 competitors who finished the race. Today the event features around 16 000 swimmers of all ages and abilities. Some of the athletes who have graced the competition with their presence can include the likes of Gerhard Zandberg, Robyn Kinghorn, Chad Ho, SA football legend, Mark Fish and others. Mike Arbuthnot, the founder, is the only one to have swum every midmar mile. This year’s event was planned to take place on the 13th & 14th of February but it has been postponed to the 13th & 14th of March.