Alani Ferreira and Ethan Paulse added three more golds to their tally on the final day of the SA Games Swimming programme that ended in Polokwane on Thursday.
Swimming in the multi-disability section, KZN’s Ferreira kept her unbeaten record intact as she took eight gold medals overall. The 13-year-old raced to a 43.85sec in the women’s 50-metre butterfly, 1min 36.62sec in the 100m backstroke and a 36.93sec in the 50m freestyle.
Paulse (WP) won the 50m butterfly in a fast 30.68sec, the 100m backstroke in 1:19.11 and the 50m freestyle in another outstanding 28.72sec ÔÇô dominating the men’s section of the multi-disability section.
Among the able-bodied swimmers, Alexio dos Santos (North West) raced to his third gold of the tournament with an encouraging performance in the men’s 400m freestyle, clocking 4:36.53 as the battle for the minor medals saw Yasien Meth (KZN) edge out Paul Tallie by 0.89sec in 4:42.05.
The women’s 400m freestyle produced more excitement with Samantha Young (Gauteng) stopping KZN’s Megan Singh from winning her third gold. Young took the close race in 5:00.55 with Singh on 5:01.07 and Justine Jagga (WP) also in the challenge to end with the bronze in 5:01.68.
The 50m butterfly events also got the crowd off their seats. The women’s event saw Artemis Spyropoulos (Gauteng) edge out teammate Tarryn Holmes by a mere 0.11sec for the gold in 31.43sec. Third place went to Tina Bahlmann (EC) in 32.79sec.
Chris Delport (Gauteng) had to work hard for his victory in the men’s 50m butterfly, touching in a fast 28.15sec with Luke Coetzee (EC) challenging with a 28.28sec swim. The versatile William Brann (EC) bagged the bronze in 29.19sec.
Brann was involved another two bronze medal performances. In the 100m backstroke, he came within 0.53sec of victory as SJ de Kock (MP) won in 1:08.52 with Jedd Cairns (WP) even closer on 1:08.62.
Then in the 50m freestyle, it was Hannes Hamer (MP) who overcame the line-up to win in 26.49sec. Wouter Zonnestein (WP) clocked 26.75sec to edge out Brann with a 26.78sec dash.
While Emma-Leigh Torry (KZN) won the women’s 100m backstroke by 0.82sec ahead of Sam Blaauw (NW) in 1:12.21 ÔÇô it was the women’s 50m freestyle that provided the closest finish of all. Mae du Plessis (WP) stopped Artemis Spyropoulos from winning her second gold for the day by 0.01sec, clocking 29.20sec. Also in the challenge ending with the bronze medal, was Tarryn Holmes (Gauteng) who touched in 29.32sec.
Kwa-Zulu Natal survived a strong challenge from Gauteng on the final day as their overall lead was eroded away to just 0.5 points, the coastal team ending overall winners on 441.5 points. Western Province also closed on the leaders to end third on 436.5 points.