Young swimming talent showcased in Nelspruit - TeamSA
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Young talent showcased in Nelspruit

Brent Szurdoki

The Nelspruit leg of the 2020 SA Grand Prix wrapped up at the Nelspruit Swimming Pool, once again proving that there is no shortage of local talent.

Johannesburg’s Christine Wessels (13) concluded the meet with an additional three gold medals in the U13 100m freestyle, the U13 100m backstroke and the U13 50m freestyle.

In the 50m freestyle race, Wessels claimed the top spot in 29.37, followed by Caitlin Herbst in 31.31 and Simone Henning in 32.35, while her winning time in the backstroke was 1:12.99, over 5secs ahead of Henning’s 1:18.23 and Herbst’s 1:19.81.

Wessels, Henning and Herbst also made up the medal podium in the 100m freestyle, clocking 1:03.10, 1:08.16 and 1:08.45, respectively, while the 100m breaststroke title went to Bianca Opperman in 1:13.97 ahead of Zambia’s Tilka Paljk in 1:16.14 and Gabriella Moll in 1:16.32.

Brent Szurdoki added two gold medals to his tally, winning the 400m individual medley in 4:33.75, with Luca Holtzhausen and Dylan Wright sharing the silver in 4:38.68, while in the 400m freestyle, Szurdoki touched the wall in 4:02.34 to bag the gold ahead of Roberto Gomes in 4:13.46 and Barnard Wolfaardt in 4:17.41.

Gomes went one better in the 200m butterfly, scooping the gold in 2:07.71, while Holtzhausen also claimed a gold medal in the 100m freestyle in 52.44.

The 200m individual medley and the 200m freestyle gold medals went to Rebecca Meder in 2:17.02 and 2:03.66, respectively, while the medley silver and bronze were claimed by Dakota Tucker in 2:23.97 and Trinity Hearne in 2:30.18 and the remaining freestyle medals were won by Dune Coetzee in 2:04.16 and Aimee Canny in 2:05.13.

Canny also took home the gold in the 50m freestyle in 26.03 to Erin Gallagher’s 26.07 and Kristen de Goede’s 27.38, while Gallagher was not done for the day, winning the 100m butterfly in 1:02.48, followed by Coetzee in 1:02.55 and Kerryn Herbst in 1:04.92.

Hannah Pearse beat out Georgina Haler in the 200m backstroke, touching the wall in a fast 2:23.09 to Haler’s 2:26.71, with the bronze medal going to Tucker in 2:26.79, while in the 800m freestyle, Pearse only managed a bronze in 9:49.12 behind Catherine van Rensburg in 9:25.46 and Jenna-Jordan Rolfe in 9:36.45.

12 year old Tingwei Deng was more than happy to finish the competition with a gold medal in the U13 100m butterfly in 1:08.71, a silver medal in the U13 200m individual medley in 2:30.74 and a bronze medal in the U13 100m breaststroke in 1:24.59.

The medal podium in the 200m breaststroke was comprised of Michael Deans in 2:20.86, Bailey Musgrave in 2:21.05 and Damian Mullen in 2:26.23, with the top three positions in the 100m backstroke going to Pieter Coetzee in 57.19, Brand van Zyl in 1:00.16 and Chase Rayment in 1:00.58.

The second leg of the Grand Prix will be held in Stellenbosch from 31 January to 2 February, while the third and final leg will take place in Durban from 21 to 23 February.

Picture: Brent Szurdoki, by Steve Haag, Gallo Images