South Africa’s swimmers boosted the team’s medal count to 15 on the first day of aquatic competition at the All Africa Games in Maputo on Monday.
After the triathlon team had set the ball rolling on Sunday with four medals, the SA team dominated the pool on Monday evening, writes Mark Etheridge.
They grabbed 11 medals in the state of the art swimming complex, taking five gold, three silvers and three bronze medals.
The golds went to Karin Prinsloo (two of them), Cameron van der Burgh, Charl Crous and the women’s 4×200-metre relay team.
Prinsloo grabbed the first gold of the evening in the 100m freestyle final, clocking 56.05sec and Van der Burgh then showed his true colours in the final of the 100m breaststroke final. Cruising in the morning heats the world record-holder touched in 1:02.44 to beat 18-year-old Tunisian Wasim Elloumi into second (1:03.17).
In the women’s 400m Individual Medley Katheryn Meaklim took silver to Zimbabwe legend Kirsty Coventry.
Meaklim swam a 4:46.33 and team-mate Bianca Meyer a 4:51.20 for bronze. Coventry won in 4:44.34.
In the men’s 200m freestyle final, Darian Townsend did all the work only to be edged out by Tunisia’s Ahmad Mathlouthi. Townsend clocked 1:49.04 to his rival’s 1:48.95 while Jean Basson took third in 1:51.06.
Another four medals came in the frenetic 50m backstroke finals. In the women’s final, Prinsloo just overtook veteran Mandy Loots to secure gold in 29.28 compared to Loots’ 29.76.
There was gold and bronze in the men’s “splash and dash” backstroke final. Charl Crous, the tallest member of the SA squad, took gold in 26.06 and Garth Tune did a great job to bag bronze in 26.19.
The final event of the evening was the women’s 200m freestyle relay and the SA quartet won going away. Roxanne Tammage, Rene Warnes, Prinsloo and Dominque Dryding led basically from start to finish and clocked 8:28.20 for the win.
Swim team manager Tanesh Marimutha was a happy man after the first day’s action: “I think we did as well as can be expected. It was a great start from the team and if this team starts well they normally go on to get even better.”