By Mark Etheridge
Two days of competition and the first medal has clattered into Team SA’s trophy cabinet at the IPC Swimming World Championships in Montreal, Canada.
And it came courtesy of London Paralympics medal winner, Hendri Herbst.
Young Herbst took bronze in the men’s S11 50-metre freestyle where he clocked 27.47 seconds behind Russia’s Alexander Chekurov (26.32) and Japan’s Keiichi Kimura (26.82).
At the same event in London last year, the visually impaired swimmer from Worcester had clocked 27.02 for an African record.
Said team coach and veteran Paralympic swimmer Tadgh Slattery: “Hendri had the perfect dive and swam so wellÔÇª he looks so comfortable with the 50m freestyle.”
There were some heart-stopping moments for Herbst as Slattery explains: “There was a protest by the Slovenian swim me after the Ukraine guy had dived into the water but moved into the Slovenian’s lane.
“There was a re-swim but Hendri decided to keep his time of 27.47 and Russia, USA and Brazil swam again. Hendri had a nail biting time during the second race but his time time was still good for the bronze medal.”
Also in action for Team SA was Adri Visser in the S5 200m freestyle where she ended eighth.
Her time was 3min 51.42sec in a race won by Sarah Louise Rung of Norway in 2:50.57. Her time was just 0.02sec off the African record she swum in Eindhoven, Netherlands three years ago.
“She swam beautifully,” said Slattery, “and held her style from beginning to end. She was so happy with her time after training to hard for her event.”
In action for Team SA on Wednesday will be Beth Nothling (50m backstroke), Kevin Paul (100m breaststroke0 and Herbst again (this time in the 400m freestyle final).
To catch the latest IPC World Championships, check out the screening times here: http://www.supersport.com/aa.aspx?t=sport&v=Aquatics&view=full