The aQuellé Midmar Mile had over 15,000 swimmers separated in 8 heats over a 2-day period. The first heat had physically and mentally disabled swimmers while the last heat featured elite professional swimmers.
The inner drive of the swimmers, from the first heat to the last heat, mirrored each other. Craig Dietz, the Limbless Waterman from America, described his desire to swim before entering the Midmar Mile, “I have the will and desire to succeed [in the water]. I want to prove that I can do what everyone else does. Each of us has our own ability to define our own potential. We have a choice to either allow the circumstances to define or control us. Or, alternatively, we can take control of the circumstances and define our own potential. In my case, I have never defined myself as a person with disabilities. Of course, I have had to think outside the box at times [because I have no arms or legs]. Life can be pretty funny. You can miss the comedy and humor of life that helps me get through the hardship and drama in life. But I have always surprised what my body can do. The opportunity is always there to achieve something. I have been swimming in the water since I was a kid. I love being in the water.”
Keri-Anne Payne, the Olympic medalist, agreed with Dietz’s perspective. “Swimming is really for everyone. I feel most comfortable in the water. I started swimming at the age of 4. At the age of 9, I was able to get to do the Midmar Mile for the first time and have swim around the world since.”
In her swims, she has also defined her own potential. “At the 2007 World Swimming Championships in [St. Kilda Beach in] Melbourne, Australia, I had to face my fears. There were [blue bottle] jellyfish that were huge, the size of large plates. I asked my coach, ‘Are we really going to do this?’ But like Craig said, we have to define our own potential. So I swam and was able to not let the circumstances define me.”
Dietz and Payne, including all the other swimmers who cross the Midmar Dam, are champions all, each defining their own potential.
Copyright © 2013 by Open Water Source