DEFENDING champion and Olympic swimmer Jessica Roux is set for a battle royal with another leading PE swimmer in Jessica Liss when the 89th Spar River Mile is held at the weekend.
Liss was the runner-up to Roux in last year's event and indications are that these two will be the front runners when it comes down to the reckoning at Sundays River on Sunday, which is the second day of the festival event.
Over the past two years, Liss has led the race from the start only to miscalculate her finish over the final 100m.
The 17-year-old Collegiate pupil will be hoping to make it third time lucky this weekend.
Roux, arguably one of EP's best female open water swimmers, recently returned to PE after training for the Olympics in Durban. She will be hoping for as little tidal assistance as possible on Sunday, knowing that her advantage lies in the longer distances.
Among the men, it is going to be wide open, with defending champion, KZN Olympic swimmer and recent Midmar Mile runner-up Troyden Prinsloo yet to confirm his participation.
"We're expecting a massive fight for the men's title this year, but given his improvement over the past season, I would imagine that Grey High School's Chris Reid could be in contention to snatch the title on Sunday," race director Michael Zoetmulder said.
"All is set for the weekend and a full festival of activity awaits the families – entries have been overwhelming and we can expect even more late entries at the weekend."
Saturday kicks off with the Discovery 5km trail run, followed by an off-road triathlon before the wetsuit and disabled Mile events in the afternoon.
The last event on the day will be the Rotary Swimarathon (family half-mile) event which has received keen interest in support for this charity event.
Sunday's programme features the Stormforce Kids prelim races across the river for those 12 years and under before the two premier events, the women's and men's mile events get under way at 1.30pm and 2.30pm respectively.