South Africa’s youth took to the water on Thursday as the SA National Short Course Championships got underway in Pietermarizburg, proving once again, that there is no shortage of talent in SA. Ayrton Sweeney’s World Championship preparations got off to a flying start after he claimed the gold in the 200m breaststroke with a time of 2:12.51, with the silver medal going to Cheyne Fisher in 2:12.54 and the bronze to Jarred Crous in 2:12.79. In the 200m freestyle, 19 year old Calvyn Justus was fast of the block to take home the title in 1:46.84 ahead of Daniel Ronaldson (1:49.58) and Ruan Ras (1:49.87). Neil Fair (18) celebrated his well deserved win in the 400m individual medley when he touched the wall with a time of 4:22.20, while Liam Fourie took the silver in 4:29.99 and Jordan le Clos the bronze in 4:32.74.
The 200m butterfly title went to Rene Warnes in 2:11.95, over two seconds ahead of Tarryn Els (2:14.01) and Sule Van Der Merwe (2:19.34), while Marlies Ross made it to the top of the podium in the 400m individual medley in 4:41.70 with Jolandi Els claiming the silver in 4:51.79 and Megan Van Wyk the bronze in 4:52.62. 15-year old Michee Van Rooyen led from the word go in the 1500m freestyle race and claimed the gold medal in 17:12.58.
Savannah Barman took the silver in 18.02.31 and Amber McConnachie the bronze in 20:04.63. Jamie Reynolds (17) qualified fastest in the 50m breaststroke semi-finals in 32.18, while Karin Prinsloo booked her place in the 100m backstroke final with a time of 1:01.12. In the 100m backstroke semi-finals, Neil De Villiers clocked 53.70 to qualify for tomorrow night’s final, while Nico Meyer scooped the first place in the 50m butterfly semi-final in 24.40.
In the men’s 4 x 100m freestyle relay, the TUKs team bagged the gold in 3:23.20, while the ladies 4 x 50m freestyle first place was also claimed by the TUKs team in 1:44.66. In the multi-disability events, Alani Ferreira won the ladies 50m breaststroke and 50m backstroke (S1 – 13) race in 40.54 and 38.32 respectively. Garth Willmore took home three gold medals in the 50m breaststroke (47.57), the 100m individual medley (1:30.81) and the 50m backstroke (in 47.57).
Aaron Putz also won three gold medals on the night in the 50m breaststroke, 100m individual medley and 50m backstroke (S14 – 14) in 33.78, 1:09.19 and 33.26 respectively. At the IPC Swimming World Championships, it was a quiet day for the South African Swimming team, with Adri Visser finishing ninth in the S5 50m butterfly with a new African Record time of 52.94. Glasgow will be in for a treat on Friday as Achmat Hassiem takes to the water in the S10 100m butterfly as well as Hendri Herbst in the S11 50m freestyle, Adri Visser in the S5 50m freestyle and Challis Wright in the SM14 200m individual medley.
Photo credit: Reg Caldecott