#TuksSwimming: Tory Earle's love to challenge herself to the limits led to the Midmar Mile victory

Posted on February 16, 2024

For years to come, statistics will show that Tory Earle won the women's Midmar Mile in 2024. 

But numbers never tell the whole story. Most will not know Earle competed at the World Aquatics Championships in Doha, Qatar, (finishing 25th with a time of 59:06.30) five days before her heroic swim in Midmar. She only flew back last Friday, arriving late that evening at her parent's home in Kloof. On Sunday, she raced. The UP-Tuks student-athlete admitted to feeling a bit tired. 

"We raced in salt water at the World Champs, and Midmar is a freshwater swim. It is a different swim. So, I did not have any real expectations; still, part of me believed I could win because of the long, hard hours of training in the buildup to Worlds. 

"My race strategy was to go out hard over the first 400 metres. I managed to do so, but the conditions were harsh, which meant that I had to continuously adjust my stroke rate. At the 800-metre marker, I had about a three-metre lead. But my lead was increasing, and with 400 metres to go, I knew I would win."

Earle's winning time was 20 minutes and 49 seconds. The Tuks swimmer's training partner, Carli Antonopoulos, finished second in 21:14. Michelle Weber, a two-time Olympian, was third, swimming 23:09. 

Impressively, she battled to believe she had clinched her first Midmar title. 

"It has not sunk in yet. All I can say is that I am thrilled."

Earle is not sure how many Midmar Miles she has swam. 

"Every year, it is a guessing game between my mom and me, trying to figure out how many times I did the Midmar. I have either done 12 or 13. The Midmar Mile is a family thing. So, I was young when I competed for the first time."

When asked why she prefers open-water swimming to pool swimming, Earle is at a loss for words. 

"I don't know why I love open-water swimming. It could be because I was always on the fringes when competing in the pool. 

"You can ask any swimmer. They will tell you that our relationship with our sport, open-water swimming, is pretty much a love-hate affair. More so when you train for an event like the World Championships. It does get tough. Two things keep me going: The first is my love of challenging myself to the utmost. It is one of the reasons I took open-water swimming. The second is the Tuks Swimming Club. As far as I am concerned, it is the best club in South Africa."

Connor Albertyn of Tuks finished second on Sunday in the men's Midmar Mile race.

- Author Wilhelm De Swardt

Copyright © University of Pretoria 2024. All rights reserved.

FAQ's Email Us Virtual Campus Share Cookie Preferences