By Mark Etheridge
Four days into the IPC Swimming World Championships and it’s four medals for Team South Africa!
Another two medals came South Africa’s way in Montreal, Canada on Thursday, with Hendri Herbst adding a silver to the bronze he won earlier in the competition and three-time Paralympian Charl Bouwer getting his first of the championships.
Herbst went off in his favourite 100m freestyle (S13 category) but a slight mistake with his turn looks to have possibly cost him gold. He ended with a time for 1min 01.37sec, 0.63sec behind Japan’s Keiichi Kimura who got gold.
Said Team SA coach Tadhg Slattery: “Hendri was looking so nervous but focused his mind well. He had a great start and his strokes looked good for the first 50m. But somehow he made a mistake with his turn while racing the Japanese guy. But still, he has got a silver and bronze medal from the championships.”
Herbst himself told Road to Rio 2016. “I’m happy with my second place, especially since my shoulder has been sore for the last couple of days. I would have liked to have swum a little faster but sometimes it’s just not meant to be.”
The 50m freestyle final was the event where Bouwer won gold at the London Paralympics last year but on this occasion it was not to be as Iaroslav Denysenko of Ukraine took that honour in 24.04 seconds.
Stellenbosch based Bouwer was just 0.06sec in arrears to take the silver medal.
Said Slattery: “Charl looked so confident for his race and he was very focused but then his dive turned out to be poor and he struggled to get going. He tried extremely hard to catch up to the Ukraine guys but could only catch one. So he was quite relieved to get his silver medal.”
Also in action was Kevin Paul, who got gold in the previous day’s competition. On this occasion he swam the 200m Individual Medley (S10) where he ended sixth in a time of 2:17.44 as Canada’s Benoit Huot won in 2:10:34.
“Kevin’s butterfly looked good but then his backstroke was a bit poor. He then caught up on the breaststroke leg and tried his best in the freestyle. He moved up to fifth place after America’s Ian Silverman was disqualified but there was a successful appeal and he went back to sixth.”
Herbst and Beth Nothling are now done with their events at the championships .
Friday sees five more South Africans in action.
Bouwer swims the 400m freestyle. Others competing will be Hendrik van der Merwe (100m breaststroke), London Paralympics bronze medallist Achmat Hassiem in the 100m butterfly, Craig Groenewald in the 100m breastststroke and Challis Wright in the 100m breaststroke.