For Olympic star @for_bridgitte, last week’s MidMar Mile proved to be ideal training as she seeks to build up steam ahead of the 2013 paddling season.

The 29 year old professional paddler, who surprised everyone at the London Olympic Games last year with a superb performance in the women’s kayak single (K1) 500m sprint which clinched a bronze medal, swam a personal best of 29.12s on Saturday.

Bridgette joined fellow Olympians Darian Townsend, Keri-Anne Payne (UK) and Katinka Hosszu (Hungary) for the Seals swimming club team, which organises the race. The Maritzburg race holds the world record for the most finishers for an swimming event.

“I don’t swim the Midmar ever year. When I was at school I used to do it. I was never a swimmer at school I just trained so that I could do the Midmar so I could come down to Natal and see some of my family. After school because we do cross training for paddling especially from November to the end of January then I decided that I would do Midmar as well because of the swimming training.”

Yet even though the race was part training and part fun it doesn’t mean she doesn’t take it seriously.

“I’m competitive in everything I do,” she laughs. “I’ve been doing swimming training and now I go back into paddling. I paddle twice a day now. “

And she adds that her best performance in the race is an indication that her training is on track.

“I don’t race usually until April, May so it’s nice to end of my base training with a race. It’s a bit of a guide to how your training is going. If you can do a good time then it means your swimming is quite good and your training has paid off.”

Right now Bridgette is building up to the time trials in April where she will attempt to make the team for the World Cup series which starts in Hungary in May.

“At this stage my goal is to qualify for the World Cup and then to take it from here.”

Bridgette Hartley represented by @newtonagency