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Taufeeq takes home seven gold medals

The Telkom SA Level 1 Championships  in Sasolburg, Bloemfontein and Oudtshoorn have ended on a high note.

In the Karoo town of Oudtshoorn there were two interesting duels, one which saw the return to form of Bailey Desmarais (Vineyard), the other between Marcus Gunton (Walmers) and Taufeeq James (Westridge Swimming Club).

Bailey had a superb first day with three golds and as silver, but had to settle for only a silver on day two. On the final day, she was back to her imperious ways by dominating the girls 11-year-age category in the 100-metre butterfly and 50m freestyle. But in the duel for top spot in the 200m backstroke she succumbed to Savanna Best (Cape Dolphins).

Going into the final day Taufeeq James and Marcus Gunton split eight gold medals between them and the 100m butterfly race between the two of them was highly anticipated. Taufeeq ÔÇô who had five of the eight gold medals between the pair ÔÇô was just too strong and won gold quite comfortably.

Certainly Taufeeq has bundles of talent and this will not have gone unnoticed. The 11-year-old Westridge swimmer ended the three-day competition with a total of seven gold medals and one silver. Juandre Otto of Fish Eagle Aquatics was the only swimmer able to top James when he beat him into second place in the 50m freestyle.

Still, James’ seven-gold-medal haul is nothing to sneeze at and he is certainly one of the young swimmers that Swimming South Africa will be monitoring for the future.

The final day in Sasolburg belonged to two swimmers. No surprise that one of them happened to be Louw Oberholzer. The 10-year-old from Diadora Aquatics in Gauteng North, had already clinched six golds and two silver over the fist two days of competition. On day three he added a further three gold, two silver and a bronze. One silver medal came in the 200m backstroke where he competed against swimmers two years his senior and in these age categories.

Clearly Oberholzer is not afraid to jump up the age ladder as he took on the 11-year-olds in the 100m butterfly and was rewarded with a bronze. The gold medals on day three came in the 50m freestyle, 200m backstroke and the 50m breaststroke.

His second silver of the day was in the 4x50m freestyle relay where he swam the anchor leg for his club.

The other youngster who made waves was 10 year-old Ime Sinclair of Centurion. Ime trumped her older compatriots in the 200m backstroke where she claimed gold in the 12-year-age division. Two more golds came in the 50m breaststroke and the 4x50m freestyle relay. Ime had to settle though for bronze in the 50m freestyle to take her medal tally for the day to four.

In Bloemfontein, Kyle Sampson (Seals) and Celine Els (Seals) once again showed their class by adding a further two medals on the day to their total tally. Els won gold in the 200m backstroke but had to settle for silver in the 50m freestyle. Kyle Sampson on the other hand had a clean sweep with two golds in the 50m breaststroke and 50m freestyle races in the 12 year age category.

Swimming South Africa have had the opportunity to identify a whole host of talented youngsters in the Telkom SA Level 1, 2 and 3 Championships where the future prospects of the sport in South Africa displayed their skills.