By Mark Etheridge
Team South Africa had their best day of the Brazilian Open Championships in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil┬á on Saturday when they snatched six medals.
That took our para-swimmers’ medal tally for the four-day event to 20, an average of five a day.
Of the six medals, three of them were gold and went to Hendrik Herbst, his third of the championships, Tadhg Slattery, his first, and Kevin Paul (his second).
The others were two silvers and a bronze. The final medal tally for Team South African consisted of seven gold, five silver and eight bronze.
Herbst’s gold came in the 50-metre freestyle where he won the S11 class in 27.55. Paul got bronze in this distance with a 25.59 in the S10 class. Other swimmers in action over 50m were Achmat Hassiem (26.53, fifth, S10), Charl Parkin (30.75, 10th, S9) and James Bezuidenhout (30.98, 12th, S9).
Two of our girls were also in action in the 50m freestyle and both of them took silver. Shireen Sapiro clocked 31.48 in the S10 classification and Adri Visser’s S5 saw her second in 52.25.
The only other distance contested by our swimmers was the 100m breaststroke. Here Slattery made up for his earlier disappointment at this gala where he had to withdraw with illness in one event and was disqualified in another. It all went just fine on Saturday as he clocked 1min 41.22sec to win the SB5 class while Paul got his second medal of the night, bronze, with a 1:07.35 third spot in the SB9 category.
Paul, Herbst and Slattery ended third, fifth and eighth respectively in the prize money hand-outs for the championships.
South Africa’s tally of 20 medals saw them end fourth on the medals table behind Brazil, United States and Argentina. The team heads back to South Africa on Monday morning.