Max Betts crowned new Jetty Mile champ

Eight-year consecutive reign of Philip Seidler broken
Otis Daniels_Finck
Swakopmund • [email protected]

Max Betts (19) is the new Pupkewitz Jetty Mile champion. He finished the 15th edition of the open-water race of 1.92 km in 22 minutes and 19 seconds.

Although having participated in the annual event several times, this was his first win. A humble Betts, to whom all credit is due for his strong performance, did acknowledge the absence of eight-time champion and open water Olympian Philip Seidler, who did not take part this year due to a recovering shoulder injury. “This year we had a chance now that Philip did not take part,” he told Erongo 24/7 at the finishing line.

Betts said that his game plan was to stay right behind the leader, who was Nico Esslinger, until the jetty, where Betts then turned on the power to take the lead and win, although it was neck on next to the very end. “Now I’m going to eat something nice,” Betts said, assuring that he hopes to return next year and hopefully beat Seidler’s 2019 record of 18 minutes and 30 seconds.

The first female to finish the mile of the approximately 200 participants was Molina Smalley (24:48), who labelled the race as “pretty rough”. “I’ve swum this race for eight years, and this is the fittest I’ve ever been, so I thought I would give it a go, and finished sixth overall. I am very happy, and tired,” she said. Smalley, who is from Windhoek, said she hopes to get to the Olympics in 2024.

Jetty Mile organizer Yvonne Brinkmann said it was very touching to see the tough competition along with the camaraderie between participants, which was “touching to see”. “People work hard for this every year, and they will continue to work hard for next year’s event. This is what makes this even so popular,” she said.