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Young Beavon building experience in Budapest

Beavon

By Mark Etheridge

At just 17 years old, Kate Beavon is the youngest member of the South African team doing duty at the FINA World Swimming Championships in Budapest, Hungary.

She may not have progressed past the 800-metre heats on Friday, but of the South Africans Johannesburg’s Beavon has spent the longest time in the water… soaking up the experience.

The endurance athlete from Johannesburg was off in heat three, and placed eighth in 8:58.31, in a race won by Liechtenstein’s Julia Hassler in 8:34.13.

That meant she was 29th of 38 finishers in the qualifying round. Top of the pile was American Katie Ledecky with 8:20.24.

Beavon’s time was some way off progressing to the next round, but the teenager still feels it’s all part of putting South Africa’s female swimmers on the international map.

‘I think it was a bold step by swimming South Africa to take young B qualifiers. The only way for us to improve female swimming is to get international experience,’ she told Team SA.

It was her second event at the championships and the experience of having already put her toe into the water, so to speak, stood her in good stead on Friday.

‘My first race I was very nervous and tensed up, but with my 800 I was more relaxed as I had gained more experience throughout the competition.’

She explained that she wasn’t expecting a personal best as she finished around 3.5 seconds off that mark. ‘I’m still in hard training for juniors worlds in America, which is at the end of August. But I felt good in the water, still a bit tired, but was happy with my time.’

It’s also not her main event, that’s the 400m freestyle right now.

Not a complete stranger to the international scene, having swum for SA at junior worlds in Singapore two years ago, she’s been swimming competitively since the age of six.

She was also part of Team SA at the AUSC Region 5 Games in Luanda, Angola, last year.

Currently training under Peter Williams at Waterborn in Johannesburg, the Grade 11 pupil at St Teresa’s has no more individual events at the championships, but went on to describe the atmosphere in Hungary.

‘This gala has been such a great time for me, as this is my first international experience at this level and size. It’s quite scary walking out and there are 15 000 people screaming, but I just feel so honoured to represent my country at World Championships.’


Another youngster lapping up the experience is Erin Gallagher. Like Beavon, the Durban girl (pictured above in Friday action) is still a teenager, but has packed in more international ventures into her growing career as she envisions a great future.

Friday saw her in 50m fly action, and although her sixth spot in 27.36 ‘only’ put her 34th place in the qualifier, she was in positive frame.

‘Today I wasn’t as nervous. I’m generally more relaxed for butterfly events. I was more excited to race because butterfly for me, is more of a “fun race” where I can have a break from my freestyle events.

‘It wasn’t the greatest of swims, only because I thought I could’ve gone faster, but I’ve learnt a lot from this competition and I’ve found that anything can happen, at any time. You can have a good swim when you least expect it, or a terrible swim when you think you’re going to win, type of thing.

‘So I’m not too stressed about my time. I’m just happy I was given another chance to swim .’

Pictures of Beavon and Gallagher courtesy of Roger Sedres/ImageSA


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