By Mark Etheridge
in Brazzaville, Congo
London Olympians Cameron van der Burgh and Karin Prinsloo opened and closed South Africa’s first day of swimming at the Africa Games here on Sunday in golden style.
Van der Burgh won the first gold in the pool for Team SA with a dominant display at the ultra-modern Nautique complex when he clocked 1min 00.19sec in the 100-metre breaststroke for a African Games Championship record.
And Prinsloo, after something of a surprise defeat in the 100m freestyle, the opening event of the night where she clocked 55.69sec, finished in style when she anchored the 4x200m freestyle relay team to gold to end the day’s programme.
It was a good night for South Africa as they swam to six medals on the night. Four of those were gold and two silver.
Joining Van der Burgh with gold were Myles Brown, 1:47.77 in the 200m freestyle, Jessica Ashley-Cooper (29.05 in the 50m backstroke) and the women’s 4x200m freestyle relay. Silvers went to Prinsloo in the 100 free and Ricky Ellis in the 50m backstroke (25.89).
Van der Burgh was satisfied with his opening night’s performance. ‘Yes, I’m happy with my time, coming off World Championships and then the World Cups.
‘I also had two weeks rest and it’s great to get the the first gold of the meeting and hopefully this gets the momentum going for the team in the rest of the competition.
‘It’s also great to see the other guys and girls getting some gold as well.
‘Now it’s just the 50m breaststroke for me and then I head home on Wednesday. I swam a 27.56 split in my race today so my sights are set for a 27.5 or less in that race.’
National coach Graham Hill said of the first night’s racing: ‘Not bad but it could have been better. There were four fourth places which could have been bronzes and then it would have looked a whole lot better.
‘I was also hoping for a gold from Karin in the 100m free.’
In her defence Prinsloo had been doing a good deal of gym work recently and has a niggly shoulder joint that isn’t quite up to scratch right now.
There were two Championship records for South Africa on the night, Van der Burgh’s 100m breaststroke and then the short-shaven Brown’s 200 free.
Other SA results were: 100m freestyle (Marlies Ross, fourth 57.94); 100m breaststroke (Alaric Basson, sixth, 1:03.73), 400m IM (Ross, fourth 5:01.79, Megan van Wyk, sixth 5:03.06), 200m freestyle (Calvyn Justus, fourth 1:49.58), 50m backstroke (Rita Naude, fifth 30.58), 50m backstroke (David de Villiers, fourth 26.52).
The final event of the evening saw Rene Warnes, Ross, Charlise Oberholzer and Prinsloo combining for their 8:20:28 victory, with Egypt second.
South Africa’s medal tally is now 15 after Sunday’s competition.
Gymnastics added another four to their two golds from Saturday in the shape of Ryan Patterson (silver on the rings), Claudia Cummins (bronze on vault), Becket (silver on bar) and Tylah Lotter (bronze on bar).