Teenager Matthew Meyer ended Chad Ho’s lengthy winning streak on Sunday, defeating the seven-time champion to bag his maiden title at the aQuelle Midmar Mile outside Howick.
After being edged by Ho in a late sprint last year, Meyer produced a breakthrough performance at the world’s biggest open water swimming race to hold off a world-class elite men’s line-up.
He completed the 1.6km race in 18:13, finishing five seconds ahead of world 5km champion Ho, who had won the last seven straight editions of the 44-year-old event.
Former global 10km champion Chip Peterson of the United States crossed the line in 18:20 in third place, and Olympic gold medallist Ferry Weertman of the Netherlands was fourth, a further six seconds off the pace in a hard-fought battle.
In the women’s contest, American swimmer Ashley Twichell secured her third Midmar victory.
Twitchell, who previously won the race in 2013 and 2014, reclaimed the title, completing the course in 19:24 to defeat Holly Hibbott of Great Britain.
Hibbott, who was 13 seconds behind Twichell, again settled for second place after losing out to local star Michelle Weber last year.
Robyn Kinghorn was the first South African home, ending third in 20:34.