At the tender age of 18 years-old Matthew Meyer has competed at an Olympic Games and has now won the coveted aQuellé Midmar Mile title, a dream that he has had on his mind following two close second place finishes.
The former Clifton College student, who represented South Africa at the Rio Olympic Games in the 1500m freestyle, said that the Midmar event was not his main focus, but the conditioning and training he received from the Elite Athlete Development Programme had left him well prepared for the race.
He was up against one of the legends of the Midmar Mile, Chad Ho, who has won seven in a row, so to get one over the favourite was a dream come true for the youngster.
“I have come second twice in the last two years so to finally get the overall win is beyond my wildest dreams!” Meyer said.
“It was a goal of mine to beat Chad and I knew that it was going to be an incredibly tough race with a bit of a chop which didn’t suit me as much as Chad.
“I am a pool swimmer so to come and take on conditions like that was tough but I am delighted that I was able to manage the conditions and hold off Chad right at the end of the race.
“I would have loved some flatter conditions but I cannot complain!” he mentioned.
Despite his prowess in the pool, Meyer’s power in open water was on full display at Midmar Dam as he had to negotiate a fierce charge from Ho right from the gun.
“Chad went really hard from the start which made the race a little more difficult for me and I knew that I had to hold on for the first 800m.
“When I had managed to stay with him I felt that there was going to be a good chance that I could take him right at the end sprint.
“When I managed to get out of the water first and across the line it was an incredible feeling. I had just beaten one of the legends of the Midmar Mile!” he added.
The former Clifton College student does not put too much emphasis on the Midmar Mile each year with his pool swimming career being his main focus but getting back into the dam and taking on the iconic race is something he enjoys.
“I just take the Midmar Mile as it comes, I don’t do anything specific to prepare for it.
“It just so happened that I was able to get a break in my training and pool racing to do it.
“The Grand Prix series is my main focus at the moment as I build up towards the World Championships in Budapest later in the year.
“That’s the main goal for me this year and having the guys and facilities at Prime to help me has been an incredible help.
“I spend quite a lot of time in the altitude room training when I am at Prime,” added Meyer.