Hungarian star add to Midmar prestige
Hungarian swimming star Katinka Hosszu's lack of open water experience compared to her nearest rivals makes her an unknown quantity in the women's race for this weekend's Midmar Mile.
"I don't know what to do, how to swim it I have no tactics," Hosszu said on Tuesday.
"I have no plan about how I am going to swim it."
The three-time Olympian and former 400m medley world champion claimed a record 39 titles during the 2012 Fina World Cup Series.
Her short course series titles came largely from her middle to long distances events, proving she had the stamina to do well in the Midmar.
After admitting she had never swam in an open water event Hosszu said she was excited and nervous at the same time.
"I'm curious about what I can do and how it's going to go," she said.
Swimming lengths in a pool was different from swimming a straight mile in open water and for Hosszu how it will affect her would be another discovery she would make in the race.
"I'm not sure how it's going to feel for me in the open water," Hosszu said.
"In the pool, for me, it's fine. I usually swim the 800m freestyle in the bigger meets.
"Sometimes I swim a mile in the pool, but I've never done open water.
"I don't know if it's going to feel longer or shorter, I'm hoping it's going to feel shorter."
While she had made light of her preparations, there was no doubt that her competitive side would be on display when confronted by leading open water talents such as Keri-Anne Payne, Ashley Twichell and South Africa's World Youth champion Michelle Weber.
Hosszu had a strong tradition to live up to as Hungary had in the past enjoyed success at the Midmar Mile, especially in the women's race.
Diana Hegedus won the open title in 2001 as a 15-year-old and followed that up with another victory in 2002 while more recently, Erika Hajnal claimed the title in 2008.
Hungary's pedigree in open water swimming was also underlined at the London Olympic Games last year when Éva Risztov captured gold, finishing four seconds ahead of seven-time Midmar champion Keri-Anne Payne, who placed fourth.
Ahead of her departure for South Africa, Hosszu asked some past Midmar Mile competitors for tips.
"I heard how some of them got run down at the finish," she said, recalling the 2009 men's open race.
In that race South Africa's Riaan Schoeman was declared the winner ahead of Hungary's David Verraszto in a photo finish that took 45 minutes to decide.
"That's something I will have to focus on," Hosszu said.
"I'm pretty curious how the running is going to go because I've never really done any running [at the end of a race].
"It's exciting to do something different in swimming, so I am really looking forward to it.
"It should be a good race and it's definitely going to be pretty fast because we are all competitors and we all want to win."