By Mark Etheridge
After the first three days of action Wednesday was a quiet day for South Africa at the IPC Swimming World Championships in Glasgow, Scotland.
Adri Visser was first reserve for the final of the S5 50-metre butterfly but despite an African record of 52.94 seconds it was not enough to earn her a direct spot into the final.
But Friday will see Achmat ‘Sharkboy’ Hassiem in action. The London Paralympics bronze medallist, pictured in Scotland above, goes off in the S10 100m butterfly.
And his Western Cape team-mate Hendri Herbst will be looking to make amends for the disappointment of missing his turn in the backstroke earlier in the week, becoming disorientated and being disqualified.
He swims the S11 50m freestyle and has a chance of upping SA’s medal tally to three. Challis Wright tackles the SM14 200m Individual Medley and Visser will be in action again, in the S5 50m freestyle .
Meanwhile, although it may have been slow going in Glasgow, back home in Pietermaritzburg it was all action as the country’s youth strutted their stuff at the SA National Short Course Championships.
Ayrton Sweeney’s World Championship preparations got off to a flying start after he claimed the gold in the 200m breaststroke with a time of 2:12.51, with the silver medal going to Cheyne Fisher in 2:12.54 and the bronze to 2014 Youth Olympian Jarred Crous in 2:12.79.
Sweeney was one of five SA qualifiers for the World Championships later this year and has obviously recovered well from dislocating his elbow shortly after nationals in Durban.
‘ I was super chuffed with my race … had no idea I would be this fast as it’s only 10 weeks since the two ops so I’m feeling super positive,’ he told Road to Rio 2016.
In the 200m freestyle, 19-year-old Calvyn Justus was fast off the block to take home the title in 1:46.84 ahead of Daniel Ronaldson (1:49.58) and Ruan Ras (1:49.87).
Neil Fair (18) celebrated his well deserved win in the 400m individual medley when he touched the wall with a time of 4:22.20, while Liam Fourie took the silver in 4:29.99 and Jordan le Clos, younger brother of Olympic and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Chad, the bronze in 4:32.74.
The 200m butterfly title went to Rene Warnes in 2:11.95, over two seconds ahead of Tarryn Els (2:14.01) and Sule van der Merwe (2:19.34), while Marlies Ross made it to the top of the podium in the 400m individual medley in 4:41.70 with Jolandi Els claiming the silver in 4:51.79 and Megan van Wyk the bronze in 4:52.62.
Fifteen-year-old Michee van Rooyen led from the word go in the 1500m freestyle race and claimed the gold medal in 17:12.58. Savannah Barman took the silver in 18.02.31 and Amber McConnachie the bronze in 20:04.63.
Jamie Reynolds (17) qualified fastest in the 50m breaststroke semi-finals in 32.18, while Karin Prinsloo booked her place in the 100m backstroke final with a time of 1:01.12. Prinsloo recently had surgery to rid herself of ongoing respiratory health problems and is clearly getting back to her old form.
In the 100m backstroke semi-finals, Neil de Villiers clocked 53.70 to qualify for Friday night’s final, while Nico Meyer scooped the first place in the 50m butterfly semi-final in 24.40.
In the men’s 4 x 100m freestyle relay, the Tuks team bagged the gold in 3:23.20, while the women’s 4 x 50m freestyle first place was also claimed by the TUKs team in 1:44.66.
In the multi-disability events, Alani Ferreira won the women’s 50m breaststroke and 50m backstroke (S1 – 13) race in 40.54 and 38.32 respectively.
Garth Willmore took home three gold medals in the 50m breaststroke (47.57), the 100m individual medley (1:30.81) and the 50m backstroke (in 47.57).
Aaron Putz also won three gold medals on the night in the 50m breaststroke, 100m individual medley and 50m backstroke (S14 – 14) in 33.78, 1:09.19 and 33.26 respectively.