Another sparkling performance from the country’s finest aquatic stars, as the Stellenbosch leg of the South African Swimming Grand Prix came to a close on Sunday. Adding two gold medals to his tally was Chad Le Clos, who clocked 1:47.22 in the 200 metres freestyle and 22.69 in the 50m freestyle, to bring his total to four gold medals in the Stellenbosch leg. Calvyn Justus and Egypt’s Marwan Elcamarh came second and third in the 200m race in 1:50.61 and 1:52.35, while Douglas Erasmus and Clayton Jimmie claimed the silver and bronze in the 50m event in 23.02 and 23.15 respectively.
Justus also went on to win the bronze in the 50m backstroke in 26.88, behind Jacques Van Wyk 26.50 and Neil De Villiers in 26.59, while Jimmie claimed the silver in the 100m butterfly in 55.02, ahead of Nico Meyer in 54.76 and behind Alard Basson in 55.22. There was a surprise in the 100m breaststroke as Jarred Crous raced ahead of Olympian Cameron Van Der Burgh to take the top spot in 1:01.22 to Van Der Burgh’s 1:01.25. Michael Houlie grabbed the bronze in 1:04.20.
Golden girl Tatjana Schoenmaker won both the 50 and 200m breaststroke events in 32.33 and 2:26.50 respectively. Britain’s Katie Matts was just behind the SA swimmer in both events, claiming the silver in 32.44 and 2:30.73, while Hanim Abrahams took the bronze in the 50m in 33.65 and Emily Visagie the third place in the 200m in 2:36.24. The ladies from the UK also scooped the gold medals in the 100m freestyle and 100m backstroke; by the way of Lauren Quigley in 55.95 and 1:01.22, while Holly Hibbot was in the top spot in the 200m butterfly and 400m freestyle in 2:14.68 and 4:16.48 respectively.
Michelle Weber and Caitlin Kat came second and first in the 400m freestyle in 4:22.35 and 4:23.52, while Rene Warnes and Dune Coetzee won the silver and bronze in the 400m freestyle in 2:17.21 and 2:24.04 respectively. Jessica Ashley-Cooper, who took the silver in the 100m backstroke in 1:02.26, ahead of Nathania Van Niekerk in 1:03.81, went one better to bring home the gold in the 50m butterfly in 27.16 ahead of Vanessa Mohr in 27.39 and Lesley Blignaut in 28.70. Emma Chelius finished second in the 100m freestyle in 58.56 and Inge Weidemann third in 59.30, while the 400m individual medley title went to Carmen Le Roux in 5:02.00 to Denmark’s Hannah Nissen’s 5:02.71 and Ida Schutt in 5:05.20.
In the remaining races, Matthew Meyer won the 1500m freestyle in 15:16.76 ahead of Josh Dannhouser in 15:59.38 and Luke Erwee in 16:14.49, while Ayrton Sweeney scooped the 200m individual medley title in 2:04.07 to Michael Meyer’s 2:05.85 and Daniel Swanepoel’s 2:10.15. In the 200m backstroke, Martin Binedell won in 2:04.35, Liam Fourie came second in 2:06.06 and Ruan Ras third in 2:08.80. The country’s Olympic hopefuls will next converge in Durban for the SA National Aquatic Championships and Official Olympic Trials in April.
Photo credit: WESSEL OOSTHUIZEN / SASPA