South Africa’s stars of the future are dominating the 9th Africa Junior Swimming Championships and after three days of competition in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, are on top of the medal table with an amazing total of 55 medals (28 gold, 19 silver and 8 bronze) and seven new Championship Records.
Breaking two Championship Records and winning three gold medals, 14-year-old Josh Walters is quickly becoming a backstroke master.
In the 100m event, Walters smashed Graeme Moore’s 2003 record of 1:01.91 by touching the wall in a time of 1:01.22. Walters took the 50m backstroke Championship Record with a time of 28.06, beating Zaahir Gamiet’s 2009 time of 28.56. The youngster’s third gold medal was in the 50m butterfly.
Also with three gold medals and two Championship Records, Christopher Reid dominated the 15-16 age group races. Reid’s time of 4:36.74, guaranteed him the gold and the new record in the 400m individual medley and his time of 2:09.56 in the 200m individual medley took him to the top with another record. Cameron Tatchell finished second in both events.┬á In the 50m backstroke, Reid was fastest in 27.90, while Joshua Finch bagged the silver in 28.67.
Joshua Steyn was also in record breaking form when he claimed New Championship Records in the 200m individual medley (2:12.78) and the 100m breaststroke (1:08.45) 13-14 age group categories. SA’s Faarez Gamieldien claimed the silver and bronze respectively.
The seventh Championship Record came from Kyle van Niekerk in the 50m freestyle, clocking a fast 24.69 ahead of Divan du Piesanie. Du Piesanie went on to claim the 100m butterfly title and a silver medal in the 50m butterfly.
In the 15-16 age group events, Ryan Coetzee took home three gold and a silver medal in the 50 and 100m butterfly, 50m freestyle as well as the 100m freestyle, respectively.┬á Brenden Crawford claimed gold in the 50m breaststroke while the silver went to Alaric Basson.
Akeem Langford won two silver medals and a bronze, while Jaun-Claude Fitchat ended with the bronze in the 100m freestyle.
On the girls side, 13-year-old Jamie Reynolds was ahead of the pack, claiming gold in the 100m butterfly (1:07.85), 50m freestyle (27.75) and 100m freestyle (1:00.99), followed by a silver medal in the 200m individual medley (2:28.38).
The gold in the 200m individual medley was claimed by Marlies Ross in 2:26.27, who earlier in the day won the gold in the 100m breaststroke race and silver in the 100m backstroke behind Rita Naude. Naude was again on top in the 50m backstroke and 50m butterfly, with Tia Dixon finishing second in the 50m backstroke.
Nikki Kirkby was victorious in the 100m breaststroke, with Nina Hess in second position, while Tshiamo Tshabalala won two silver medals in the 50m freestyle and 100m breaststroke and Khethiwe Hadebe was third in the 100m butterfly.
In the 15-16 age group races, Kyna Pereira and Lindsay McLeod came in first and second respectively in both the 200 and the 400m freestyle, while Chanel Johnson and Michaela Barnes took the gold and bronze in the 100m butterfly. On the third day, McLeod came in first in the 200m individual medley, while Johnson ended second.
Golden girl Tamlin Crafford once again showed her skill with two gold medals in the 50 and 100m backstroke events. Crafford also won a bronze medal in the 50m freestyle.
The final day of the championships takes place on Sunday.