South Africa’s swimmers produced the goods and then some at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games where they finished third on the medals table in the pool.
The trio of Chad le Clos, Cameron van der Burgh and Tatjana Schoenmaker led the way, winning six gold medals between them.
We take a look at the SA team’s glittering performances in the pool.
Chad le Clos
The word ‘legend’ is used liberally these days, but the South African swimming sensation is well on his way to reaching that status.
What else do you call the most decorated swimmer at the Commonwealth Games?
He once again proved to be a class apart by sweeping the 50m, 100m and 200m butterfly gold medals.
And while he may have missed out on the 200m freestyle podium, he earned silver in the 100m event against a top-class field.
Le Clos did a lot of swimming over six days, lifting his career medal tally at the quadrennial showpiece to a total of 17 with a bronze as a member of the 4x100m medley relay quartet.
South Africa’s princess of the pool shone brightly, becoming the first able-bodied SA women’s swimmer in 64 years to win a gold medal at the Games.
The 20-year-old athlete claimed the biggest victory of her career by taking the 200m breaststroke title in a time of 2:22.02, improving Suzaan van Biljon’s African record from the 2012 London Olympic Games by more than a second.
She went on to surprise herself by clipping 0.1 off Penny Heyns’ continental 100m breaststroke record to win the final in 1:06.41.
Schoenmaker also came painstakingly close to bagging a surprise medal in the 50m breaststroke, shaving 0.01 off Heyns’ previous national record set in 1999.
Cameron van der Burgh completed the golden trifecta in the 50m breaststroke at the Commonwealth Games. Photo by Reg Caldecott
Cameron van der Burgh
Showing incredible longevity, Van der Burgh won his third straight 50m breaststroke gold medal at the Commonwealth Games.
It requires true grit to beat world record holder Adam Peaty in the 50m breaststroke, with Van Der Burgh touching the wall ahead of the Briton in a time of 26.58 seconds.
The victory tasted even sweeter after Peaty won the 100m breaststroke title earlier during the gala, with the South African bagging the bronze medal in 59.44.
Van der Burgh also played a key role in the men’s 4x100m medley relay, securing his ninth career Commonwealth medal.
Tandy again showed a temperament for the big moment, earning the 50m freestyle silver medal thanks to his lightning fast start off the blocks.
He became the first swimmer since Roland Schoeman at the Delhi 2010 Games to grab a medal in the 50m freestyle event.
Tandy finished sixth in the freestyle final at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and will be hoping to challenge for a medal at Tokyo 2020.
The US-based swimmer stuck with Le Clos in the 50m butterfly final, touching third to share the podium with the South African star.
Le Clos hit the wall first, with Coetzee posting a new personal best of 23.73 for third place.
Sadie finished second in the men’s S7 50m freestyle final to secure South Africa’s only para-swimming medal after a fast start in his race.