Rebecca Meder has emerged as the top South African swimmer so far at the 14th CANA African Senior Swimming and Open Water Championships in Accra, Ghana.
The 19-year-old has collected four individual victories and three relay golds so far, with the possibility of further adding to her haul with the event wrapping up on 17 October.
Meder claimed her individual titles in the 100 and 200m freestyle (56.22 and 2:02.65 respectively) as well as the 100m backstroke (1:02.90) and the 400m individual medley (4:55.36).
The Tokyo Olympian then joined forces with Hannah Robertson, Leigh McMorran and Christin Mundell, powering to gold in the 4x200m freestyle relay in a championship record time of 8:26.35, beating their closest competitors, Egypt by a massive 19 seconds.
There were more championship records to come – in the 4x100m freestyle relay (with Inge Weidemann, Caitlin de Lange and Robertson again in a time of 3:49.91 to better the mark set by the South African team 11 years ago) and in the mixed 4x100m freestyle relay with Weidemann, Andrew Ross, and Guy Brooks. Their time of 3:34.02 bettered the previous mark set by Egypt in 2018.
Emily Visagie was also in record-breaking form in the 100m breaststroke, topping the podium with a championship record of 1:10.81, just one hundredth of a second off the previous mark, while she also claimed gold in the 200m breaststroke in 2:35.35.
Christin Mundell also has two individual golds in the bag already, showing her versatility in winning the 50 breaststroke (32.64) and the 400m freestyle (4:40.02).
Inge Weidemann (50m butterfly) and Stephanie Houtman (800m freestyle) accounted for the other golds won by the SA women so far – 12 in total.
The men’s team have not been quite as prolific, with four swimmers reaching the top of the podium.
Fresh from his medal-winning exploits at the FINA World Cups in Berlin and Budapest, Martin Binedell continued his podium form in Ghana.
The 26-year-old claimed gold in the 200m backstroke in a championship record. His time of 2:00.54 beat the previous mark set by compatriot George du Rand in 2008 by almost a second.
Also in fine form was Pretoria’s Ruan Ras. He powered to victory in the 400m individual medley in a massive personal best time of 4:24.46.
“I’m very happy obviously – it’s exactly the outcome that I wanted. I swam a PB by a second and a half and managed to win the race,” said a thrilled Ras afterwards.
“Going into the race I was a bit nervous because obviously there are a lot of senior ‘okes’ with really good PBs but I managed to pull it off so I’m very happy.”
The other gold medal winners so far have been Clayton Jimmie, who won the 50m butterfly in 24.13 and Bailey Musgrave, who took the 200m freestyle title in 2:14.47.
The men’s 4x100m freestyle relay team of Andrew Ross, Jimmie, Binedell and Guy Brooks dipped under the championship record, finishing in 3:21.04, but were beaten by Egypt who took gold in a new record of 3:20.04.
South Africa currently top the medal table with 17 golds, 16 silvers and nine bronze medals.