By Mark Etheridge
Appendix surgery less than a month before the South African aquatics championships in Durban couldn’t stop Alani Ferreira from nailing down two qualifying times for the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Swimming World Championships later this year.
Somewhat drained by her studies at Stellenbosch University as well as the recovery from her operation, the young Ferreira (pictured here with one of her Matie coaches, Karin Hugo at national championships) qualified in both the 400-metre freestyle and 100m breaststroke.
There was also the added bonus of an African record in her breaststroke event.
At last year’s nationals she had swum four A qualifying times which saw her being part of Team South Africa at the Rio Paralympics. This year’s IPC world’s will be swum in Mexico in September giving her some valuable time to pick up to full fitness once more.
‘For world’s, we once again have to see who makes the team but I’m definitely excited to get back into the pool full time again and really work hard and see what I can do,’ said Ferreira.
‘I haven’t been able to train much these past two months due to illness so I’m quite happy with what I could achieve at SA Nationals. For world’s my main goal would be to try and make a final which is going to require many, many hard hours of training but I’m ready to start training .
On swimming so soon after her operation, she said: ‘The wounds were sore when I swam and raced and I did sadly have to scratch from the 100m fly, but it wasn’t an option for me to not swim so I just tried to ignore the pain and swim. I’ve got no pain now and it’s almost fully healed.
‘My coaches did make sure that I would be able to swim without hurting myself – we did a lot of precautionary tests in order to make sure I’d be able to swim without hurting myself – luckily I have a brilliant team of coaches supporting me at Maties.’