Stroke-for-Stroke Battle Leads To Keri-Anne Payne's 7th Title

Stroke-for-Stroke Battle Leads To Keri-Anne Payne’s 7th Title

Keri-Anne Payne and Ashley Twichell went stroke-for-stroke, literally, for 1,600 meters.

After a crazy start on the shore of the Midmar Dam, they both shot out like a canon. “We occasionally bumped into each other,” recalled 22-year-old Ashley who was visiting South Africa for the first time to compete in the world-famous aQuellé Midmar Mile. Their synchronization was remarkable throughout the choppy conditions as they mirrored each others stroke and each others pace.

Facing a mean oncoming chop, the 6-time defending champion from Great Britain was in a real battle. “This is the most exciting, closest women’s race in the history of the Midmar Mile,” commented Wayne Riddin.

At the 400-meter hot spot, the women were shoulder to shoulder, Keri-Anne occasionally sneaking a peak at Ashley and vice versa … they continued past the 800-meter mark … and remained a virtual tie at the 1200-meter hot spot. Each aquatic warrior was desperately trying to make a break, but each break was matched by her rival. By the 1400 meters, their backs and shoulders were visually pink, flushed because of the high-pace they were holding.

At 1600 meters, Keri-Anne made a slight move to the front which Ashley could not match. One stroke ahead of Ashley, Keri-Anne stood up at the shoreline and took a few steps to etch her 7th consecutive victory. “It was a really good swim, really quite tough actually, Ashley was swimming very well, so I tried to keep it as easy as I could for as long a I could and then at the end, I thought, right I’m going to pick up now.”

Interestingly enough, Keri-Anne wore reportedly the fastest swimwear on the planet, the new Speedo FASTSKIN3 Racing System. “It felt good. I liked it,” said Keri-Anne. “It has compression panels in different places and no water got in through the front.”

1. Keri-Anne Payne (24) 20:44
2. Ashley Twichell (22) 20:46
3. Danielle Hall-Jackson (17) 21:03
4. Kayleigh Dawson (18) 22:17
5. Rene Warnes (20) 22:23
6. Michelle Weber (15) 22:24
7. Lucy Charles (18) 22:28
8. Nicole Brits (17) 22:29
9. Megan Stephens (21) 22:37
10. Jasmin Agnaeito (20) 22:38

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