Peacock Brightens Up The aQuellé Midmar Mile Picture

Peacock Brightens Up The aQuellé Midmar Mile Picture

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

For the last few years, the women’s race at the aQuellé Midmar Mile has been an exciting two-women battle between America’s Ashley Twitchell and 7-time winner Keri-Anne Payne. Between the two of them, they have dominated the last 9 races in which they have competed.

But 2013 World University Games 1500m gold medalist Stephanie Peacock will join the duo and will add another level of competition.

All three women are extremely competitive, but in various stages of training which makes predicting the outcome impossible.

Twichell underwent shoulder surgery last year that took her out of the water, while Payne is currently focusing her training on the 2015 FINA World Swimming Championships that serves as the 2016 Olympic 10K Marathon Swim qualifier.

The 22-year-old Peacock is, meanwhile, transitioning into open water swimming from the pool and will undoubtedly be pushed to the limit between Twichell and Peacock.

Event organiser Wayne Riddin is expecting a tremendous tussle. “I think it could be something special. Ashley came in from the United States in her first year and got second place [behind Payne]. Katinka Hosszú, a world-renowned pool swimmer, managed only fourth in her first go at the race. Now you have Stephanie Peacock, who has the credentials, in my opinion.

She broke a Janet Evans’ record which has stood for 22 years. Janet Evans is one of the biggest names in the history of swimming. For somebody to break one of her records means that she is pretty good, so it will be an interesting clash here because I think Keri-Anne is a lot fitter than last year, and she still pushed Ashley all the way. I think Ashley is coming out here to prove a point and to see where she is at in terms of her form.

A girl like Stephanie coming in, who is moving towards open water swimming, will, I think, result in an unbelievable race

Apart from her gold medal in the 1500m at the 2013 World University Games, Peacock also won silver in the 800m and bronze in the 400m, suggesting that she is someone that gets stronger as the length of her races increases. That is something that should suit her Midmar Mile challenge very well, especially after she had the fastest splits among the elite athletes in the recent King and Queen of the Sea competition on the Olympic marathon swimming course in Rio de Janeiro.

With her training program (7 km per day, 6 days a week), “Endurance will be the least of her concerns in the Midmar Mile. Most likely, as it often is for first timers at the Midmar Mile, Peacock’s toughest task will be finding the right swimming line to the slipway at the end of the race. Many top swimmers, even those with experience, have seen their efforts undone by the challenges of dealing with currents, choppy water, wind, and a potentially chaotic start to the race.”

The 2015 aQuellé Midmar Mile takes place at the Midmar Dam, just outside of Howick in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, on February 7th and 8th. More information can be found at

Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association
Steven Munatones