Jeffrey’s Bay will host the 2020 SA National Open Water Swimming Championships, with the country’s top talent taking to the water this weekend.
The swimmers at this year’s event will compete to secure a place in the team that will be selected to represent South Africa at the Tokyo Olympics as well as the Fina World Junior Open Water Swimming Championships.
The top two swimmers from each 10km race will be eligible for national selection and be considered for the final Olympic qualifier, while in the juniors section, the top two athletes in the 5, 7.5 and 10km events from the relevant age groups (14-15, 16-17 and 18-19) will be considered.
Chad Ho, who won gold at the 2015 World Aquatic Championships 5km race, will be looking for fast times at this year’s 10km Olympics qualifier event, with strong competition coming from Danie Marais and Namibia’s Phillip Seidler. Michael McGlynn, Byron Kimber, Dante Nortje and Henre Louw cannot be discounted in what is sure to be one of the most closely contested 10km events seen at South Africa’s premier open-water swimming venue.
Marais, alongside Michael and Chris McGlynn will also swim in the men’s 5km.
Olympian Michelle Weber, Robyn Kinghorn, Stephanie Houtman and Amica de Jager will battle it out in the ladies’ 10km race, with Weber and Kinghorn also participating in the 5km event.
The 15-year-old Leigh McMorran started the year with two first-place finishes in the 5 and 7.5km races at the Nelspruit leg of the SA Grand Prix and will be hoping for a repeat performance against the likes of Catherine van Rensburg and Hannah Murray.
On the men’s side, Flippie van der Spuy and Zac Ellis will be back in the water after finishing first and second at the 5km SA Grand Prix in January, and will compete in the 5 and 7.5km events, while Connor Buck, Joshua Ashley and Leshan Pillay are sure to make their presence felt in their quest for national honours.
With over 300 participants and – for the first time in the competition’s history – live streaming available, the 2020 SA National Open Water Championships is sure to be a memorable event.