Many of Team South Africa’s Commonwealth Games swimmers were back in action as the 2018 SA National Aquatic Championships and Youth Olympics Trials got off to a flying start at the Newton Park pool in Port Elizabeth on Monday.
Already, three Youth Olympic qualifying times were swum on day one.
Cape Town matriculant Michael Houlie (pictured above in purple trunks) became the first swimmer to put his name on the Youth Olympics Qualification list, as the Commonwealth Games swimmer finished the 100-metre breaststroke semi-finals in second place, clocking 1min 02.57sec, well inside the 1:03.70 qualifying requirement.
In the 100m backstroke, another swimmer just back from Down Under, Mariella Venter also penciled her name for the third Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Venter (pictured below) won her semi-final in 1:02.18, over a second ahead of the standard of 1:03.43.
Jacques van Wyk won his respective semi-final in 55.52 ahead of Martin Binedell in 57.01 and Jarryd Baxter in 58.37.
Teenager Riccardo di Domenico posted a Youth Olympic qualification time in the semi-finals of the 50m butterfly, the 17-year-old Johannesburg swimmer touched the wall in 25.00, and bettered the 25.07 requirement. While on the women’s side, Olivia Nel (daughter of Springbok swimmer Annette) finished first in 28.42 ahead of Jana Coetze in 28.53 and Michaela de Villiers in 28.75.
Kaylene Corbett won her 100m breaststroke semi-final in 1:11.10 with Emily Visagie (both were part of Team SA in Australia) and Paige Brombacher a close second and third in 1:11.87 and 1:12.01, respectively.
In the 200m freestyle semi-finals, Kate Beavon finished top of the group with a time of 2:03.74 ahead of Abi Meder in 2:05.80 and Janie Coetzer in 2:06.64. While on the men’s side, Brent Szurdoki was fastest in 1:52.31, followed by Baxter in 1:52.66 and Josh Stegen in 1:53.81. The final for both races will take place on Tuesday while Beavon, Szurdoki and Baxter are also all 2018 Commonwealth Games competitors.
In the multi-disability events, the 100m backstroke and 50m breaststroke gold medals went to Dylan Logan (S15) in 1:11.58 and 36.09 and Michaela Kretzen (S14) in 1:24.84 and 47.55. While in the 100m backstroke S1-13 category, the gold medals were claimed by Franco Smit (S13) in 1:09.11 and Katelyn Marais (S9) in 1:31.96 and the 50m breaststroke titles went to Johann van Heerden (SB9) in 31.67 and Shannon Martins (SB8) in 49.04.
The final teams for the Youth Olympic Games in Argentina, the AUSC Region Five U20 Youth Games in Gaborone, Botswana and the African Youth Games in Algiers, Algeria will be selected by SASCOC, while Swimming SA will select the final team for the Senior Africa Swimming Championships.
The SA National Aquatic Championships continue on Tuesday with heats starting at 9.30am, while the finals will begin at 6pm daily.
The staging of this event has been made possible through the support provided by Swimming SA partners, Sport and Recreation South Africa, SASCOC, National Lotteries Commission, Arena and Rand Water.
Photos: Day one action in Port Elizabeth, by Clinton Begley/NMB Aquatics
A Qualifying Times
Youth Olympic Games (Day One)
– Michael Houlie – 100m breaststroke – 1:02.57 (SF)
– Mariella Venter – 100m backstroke – 1:02.18 (SF)
– Riccardo di Domenico – 50m butterfly – 25.00 (SF)
*SF – semi-final