SA’s top talent as well as an array of international stars showed off their skills during the two-day SA National Open Water Swimming Championships at the Marina Martinique in Jeffrey’s Bay at the weekend.
Brazil’s Ana Soares da Cunha (26), currently training in Cape Town, and Rio Olympian Michelle Weber (22) swam to well-deserved first and second place in both the five and 10-kilometre races, finishing just over a minute apart in the 10km in 1:56:17.10 and 1:57.20.50 and clocking 1:00:14.37 and 1:00:16.34 in the 5km, respectively, while Germany’s Sarah Boslett (25) claimed the third place in both races (2:03:40.70 and 1:00:51.53).
In the men’s 10km event, Hungary’s Daniel Szekelyi (23) and Peter Galicz (18) edged out KwaZulu-Natal’s Dante Nortje (18), as Szekelyi scooped the gold in 1:54:29.10 to Galicz’s 1:55:52.20 and Nortje’s 1:56:18.00, while in the 5km race, the Hungarians once again topped the medal podium in 56:11.70 and 57:01.00 to Namibian Phillip Seidler’s bronze time of 57:19.43.
The top three places in the men’s 3km 12-14 age group went to Dennis de Villiers (12) in 37:33.00, Connor Albertyn (14) in 39:59.80 and Enzo Pretorius (14) in 40:24.00, while Flippie vd Spuy (15), Zac Ellis (15) and Connor Buck (15) won the 15-16 event in 36:26.60, 37:15.00 and 37:16.50, respectively.
Cole Craig (18) bagged the gold in the 17-18 3km race in 37:22.30 ahead of Seyuran Perumal (17) in 37:27.00 and Nicholas Campbell (17) in 37:28.00, while the ladies’ 17-18 gold was claimed by Payton Horton (18) in 40:01.10 followed by Jesica Smit (18) in 40:02.30 and Thelise Saunders (18) in 40:08.10.
The girls’ 12-14 3km medals went to Leigh McMorran (14) in 39:05.40, Catherine van Rensburg (14) in 39:49.00 and Chloe le Roux in 39:53.90, with the 15-16 gold going to Kaitlyn Albertyn (16) in 38:53.60, the silver to Trinity Hearne (15) in 39:26.50 and the bronze to Emilie Krog (16) in 39:43.40.
This year’s competition also doubles as the official qualifier for the fourth FINA World Junior Open Water Swimming Championships, which will be held in Israel from 7-9 September, and the top two athletes in the 5, 7.5 and 10km races from the relevant age groups (14-15, 16-17 and 18-19) will be considered for selection by Swimming South Africa.
In the picture are, from left to right, Weber with Danielle Dirksen and Namibia’s Phillip Seidler.