Among the nearly 20,000 swimmers who will be competing in the 37th Halfway Toyota Midmar Mile in South Africa, world champion and Olympic 10K Marathon Swim silver medalist Keri-Anne Payne (see below) is the female headliner in what will be one of the most competitive races in the history of one of the world’s top open water competitions.

Keri-Anne, who is on a very busy schedule flying from England to Brazil to South Africa, is the defending Midmar Mile champion and is one of the growing number of foreigners who want to take part in the world’s largest competitive open water swim near Howick in Kwa Zulu Natal, the Kingdom of the Zulu.

Keri-Anne will face her Midmar Mile rival Nadine Pastor of Germany who posted the fastest last 400 meter in last year’s race despite having swum the 5K and 10K races in the preceding 72 hours. Nadine also upset Olympic 10K Marathon Swim gold medalist Larisa Ilchenko in the 2009 British Gas Great North Swim, so it should be an outstanding race this year.

British National Open Water Swimming Performance Director Mark Perry, who is bringing down a formidable British team to South Africa, said “British Swimming are excited to be racing in one of the most famous open water races in the world. It’s a great opportunity for our athletes to race in warm weather early in the year, and we are looking forward to both the experience and the South African hospitality. The team is a mixture of experienced world-class internationals and emerging young talent. Whilst the team are all going to be racing in their heaviest training period, we still expect them to race tough and step up to the bar.”

Copyright © 2010 by World Open Water Swimming Association