The quest for Olympic and FINA World Junior Championships qualification is under way at the SA National Open Water Swimming Championships in Jeffrey’s Bay.
The top two swimmers from each 10km race will be eligible for national Olympic selection and the first to pencil their names on that list were Michael McGlynn and Danie Marais, who won the gold and silver in 1:57:03 and 1:57:36, respectively, while the bronze medal went to Namibia’s Phillip Seidler in 1:58:04.
In the ladies’ 10km race, Michelle Weber (pictured, 2:07:13) and Robyn Kinghorn (2:08:24) celebrated their well deserved first and second place finishes to add their names to the Olympic Qualification list, with Leigh McMorran in third, clocking 2:10:50.
In the Juniors section of the competition, 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 for selection to the FINA World Junior Open Water Swimming Championships and McMorran (1:36:36) and Catherine van Rensburg (1:38:02) did not disappoint in the ladies’ 16-17 category 7.5km race, topping the medal podium, while the bronze was claimed by Lize Muller in 1:42:44.
The gold in the men’s 16-17 7.5km event went to Joshua Ashley in 1:31:09, followed by Connor Buck in 1:31:13 and Flippie vd Spuy in 1:32:28, while the gold, silver and bronze in the men’s 12-13 3km were scooped by Keagan Wright, Bryce Minderon and Liam Ellis in 37:42.56, 40:20.12 and 40:21.46, respectively.
Sven van der Linde, Ricardo Rebelo and Kyle Dawson made up the medal podium in the 14-15 3km in 38:03.63, 38:30.63 and 39:31.14, while Janno Bouwer, Pieter Delport and Len-Douglas Mackay bagged the gold, silver and bronze in the 16-18 3km, respectively.
Roberto Machi (41:22.22), Juan van der Hooge (42:38.37) and David Greener (49:01.70) won the 19-30 3km, with the medals in the 31-40 category going to Craig Groenewald in 40:17.18, Abie van Oort in 43:36.12 and Cassel Geldenhuys in 46:47.48.
The Over 51 race saw Tshwane’s Gary Albertyn (51) claim the gold in 37:44.44, followed by Glover (53) in 46:25.12 and Tucker (52) in 49:06.21.
In the ladies’ 3km events, the 12-13 age group medals were won by Callan Lotter (41:05.26), Kaitlynne Horne (41:23.23) and Kairah George (41:56.33), the 14-15 medal table was made up of Mykae Forrest (40:42.77), Hannah Neilson (40:45.27) and Chole le Rous (40:48.52), while the winners in the 16-18 race, it was Kaitlyn Albertyn (40:42.02), Jordyn Minifie (40:47.45) and Zoe Sinclair (43:49.00).
Samantha Randle grabbed the gold medal in the 19-30 3km with a time of 38:55.16 ahead of Licinda Kleynhans in 46:30.69 and Kirsty Hyslop in 47:38.49, while Tracy Gous, Megan Albertyn and Michele Esdterhuizen topped the 41-50 age group in 44:29.28, 45:10.00 and 46:07.52, respectively.
Denise Bosman (60) walked away with the honours in the Over 51 category in 46:55.78 ahead of Ingrid Trusler (61) in 47:13.78 and Jean Degenaar (59) in 51.38.04.
The final team for the Tokyo Olympics will be selected by SASCOC, while the FINA World Junior Open Water Swimming Championships team selection will be done by Swimming South Africa.