Raking in the medals, the South African swimmers spearheaded by Chad le Clos won three gold medals on the penultimate day in the pool at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games on Monday.
The swimmers have now contributed 10 medals to South Africa’s medal tally since the start of the Games last week Thursday.
Chad le Clos
Le Clos made history sweeping the 50m, 100m, and 200m butterfly gold medals, extending his tally over three quadrennial showpieces to 16 gongs.
The London 2012 Olympic champion completed a golden day in the pool for South Africa, winning the 100m butterfly in a new Commonwealth record of 50.65 seconds.
He was never in danger of losing as he led the race from start to finish with James Guy of England touching in second place in 51.31 and Aussie Grant Irvine finishing third in 51.50.
“Cameron got us started with a win over the world record-holder and Tatjana Schoenmaker, the new star in the making. It is probably the best night we’ve ever had in Commonwealth history. It is 10 medals on day five, unbelievable. It is around my personal best time, I think that is the third fastest 100m fly of all time, after 14 races in five days.”
Another smashing swim for Schoenmaker as she chopped 0.1 off South African icon Penny Heyns’ previous national and continental records.
The new queen of South African swimming added the 100m breaststroke gold to her 200m title from a few days earlier, touching the wall first in a time of 1:06.41.
She turned second but managed to get her nose in front and in the end, she claimed a comfortable victory with Kierra Smith of Canada finishing behind her in 1:07.05 and Aussie Georgia Bohl bagging bronze in 1:07.22.
“This one hasn’t sunk in yet. I got emotional but I feel like a lot will still come, probably when I am in my bed when I am about to fall asleep. The 200m was my big one. With this one, I am just happy that it was half the distance. I was happier about the 200m but the 100m is amazing, I didn’t ever think I would medal in the 100m.”
Cameron van der Burgh
The unsung hero but undisputed legend of South African swimming, Van der Burgh highlighted his class as he beat English world record-holder Adam Peaty in his final hurrah at the Games.
Van der Burgh rocketed out of the blocks getting an early advantage over Peaty with the South African racing to his third consecutive Commonwealth Games 50m breaststroke gold medal, hitting the wall first in a time of 26.58.
Peaty finished behind him in 26.62 with countryman James Wilby rounding off the podium in third place in 27.37.
“As a Games experience it started 12 years ago in 2010, and to finish it on such a high something really special.
“Obviously Adam and I have a really tough rivalry and he has had the upper-hand over me the last few years so to get on top of the podium and seeing my flag up there and hearing my national anthem being played is going to be, if I look back on my career it is going to be one of the highlights.”
Taking an early lead in the race, Christian Sadie faded as he moved past the halfway mark, finishing second in the men’s S7 50m freestyle and bagging South Africa’s first para-swimming medal.
“I am very happy to have won the silver. There is a lot of tough competition here and I wasn’t too happy with my race. It didn’t go according to plan but I am happy with the medal and to get this experience.”