Five more swimmers joined the growing list of South African qualifiers for the Youth Olympics, as the country’s most talented young prospects continued to make waves on day three of the National Aquatic Championships in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday.
Dune Coetzee touched the wall in 2:14.73 to win gold in the women’s 200m butterfly final, with the 15-year-old prodigy finishing more than six seconds clear of her nearest opponent.
Competing in semifinals, Gawie Nortje clocked 51.12 in the 100m freestyle, Henju Duvenhage pencilled his name on the qualifying list with a time of 26.44 in the 50m backstroke, and Ethan du Preez (2:02.18) and Ruan Breytenbach (2:03.35) dipped under the required time in the 200m butterfly, with all four swimmers hoping to go even quicker in Thursday’s finals.
Meanwhile, Christin Mundell and Mariella Venter improved their qualifying times in the women’s 200m individual medley final, winning gold and silver against their senior opposition in 2:18.31 and 2:18.35 respectively.
Venter went on to achieve the standard in the 50m backstroke semifinals in 29.73, having already booking her place in the provisional squad over the 100m distance.
Mundell was also in superb form, adding a qualifying time in the 200m breaststroke, clocking 2:31.62 in the penultimate round. She had met the standard in the 100m breaststroke event the day before.
In the men’s 200m medley final, Luan Grobbelaar made a bigger claim for his place in the team by improving his qualifying time to 2:05.82 to take the bronze medal. Jarryd Baxter touched first to win gold in 2:00.85 ahead of Ayrton Sweeney who grabbed silver in 2:02.18.
In other events, Brent Szurdoki triumphed in the long-distance 1 500m final in 15:42.46, and Kate Beavon won the women’s race by more than 11 seconds in 17:01.11.
Erin Gallagher was victorious in the 100m freestyle podium battle in 56.01, finishing well ahead of Emma Chelius who took second place in 57.00.
In the women’s multi-disability 50m butterfly contest, Shannon Martins (S9) came out on top in 39.44, while Ethan Paulse (S14) took the men’s title in 28.82 and Franco Smit (S12) won his respective race in 27.89 ahead of Commonwealth Games silver medallist Christian Sadie (S7) who clocked 31.09.
Paulse also won the 50m freestyle final in 27.05, while Paralympian Hendri Herbst (S11) claimed gold in the S1-13 category in 27.35 ahead of Sadie (30.20). Michaela Kretzen (S14) and Katelyn Marais (S9) won the women’s titles in 33.06 and 33.76 respectively.
Youth Olympic Games qualifiers
Michael Houlie – 100m breaststroke (1:02.57)
Henju Duvenhage – 50m backstroke (26.44)
Ethan du Preez – 200m butterfly (2:02.18)
Ruan Breytenbach – 200m butterfly (2:03.35)
Riccardo di Domenico – 50m butterfly (25.00)
Luan Grobbelaar – 200m individual medley (2:05.82)
Gawie Nortje – 100m freestyle (51.12)
Christin Mundell – 100m breaststroke (1:10.72); 200m individual medley (2:18.31); 200m breaststroke (2:31.62)
Mariella Venter – 100m backstroke (1:01.86); 200m individual medley (2:18.35); 50m backstroke (29.73)
Kate Beavon – 200m freestyle (2:03.27)
Dune Coetzee – 200m butterfly (2:14.73)