South African 100m freestyle record holder Erin Gallagher and Kate Beavon were in dominant form at this week’s SA Swimming Championships in Port Elizabeth, bagging four individual titles each.
With the country’s Commonwealth Games medallists taking a break from the pool, much of the attention turned to Youth Olympic qualification at the six-day event.
A total of 18 swimmers — nine boys and nine girls — posted qualifying times for the third edition of the Youth Games that will take place in Buenos Aires in October.
Beavon bowed out of the championships as the queen of distance swimming, winning the 200m, 400m, 800m and 1 500m freestyle titles.
She booked her place in the provisional SA team for the Youth Olympics, setting qualifying times in the 200, 400m, and 800m freestyle.
Gallagher, who set a new South African 100m freestyle record at the recent Gold Coast Games, dominated the sprint events at the national championships.
She raced to victory in the 50m and 100m freestyle, 50m backstroke and the 100m butterfly.
Mariella Venter was the top female backstroke swimmer, claiming both the 100m and the 200m titles in her specialist stroke and achieving qualifying times for the Youth Olympics.
She added the 200m individual medley and 50m backstroke silver medals to her list of silverware.
Kaylene Corbett, who featured in the 200m breaststroke final at the Commonwealth Games, was the top swimmer in her favourite stroke.
She won both the 100m and 200m titles in front of her home crowd and just missed out on a breaststroke sweep by finishing second in the 50m sprint event.
Among the elite men, the titles were more evenly spread, though Jarryd Baxter and Doug Erasmus featured prominently.
Fresh off his maiden appearance at the Commonwealth Games, Baxter won gold medals in the 200m and 800m freestyle, as well as the 200m individual medley, while claiming silver in the 400m freestyle and medley events.
Erasmus proved to be the top male sprinter at the championships, winning the 50m and 100m freestyle titles, and the 50m butterfly.
Alaric Basson was the top dog in the 100m breaststroke but had to be content with silver over the 50m and 200m distances which Michael Houlie and Ayrton Sweeney won respectively.
Youth Olympic Games qualifiers:
Michael Houlie (50m and 100m breaststroke), Henju Duvenhage (50m backstroke and 100m butterfly), Ethan du Preez (200m butterfly), Ruan Breytenbach (200m butterfly), Tiago Cordeiro (200m butterfly), Riccardo di Domenico (50m butterfly), Luan Grobbelaar (200m individual medley), Gawie Nortje (50m and 100m freestyle, Aryan Makhija (800m freestyle).
Christin Mundell (100m and 200m breaststroke, 200m individual medley), Mariella Venter (100m backstroke, 200m individual medley, 50m and 200m backstroke), Kerryn Herbst (50m backstroke), Kate Beavon (200m, 400m and 800m freestyle), Abi Meder (800m freestyle), Dune Coetzee (100m, 200m butterfly, 400m, 800m freestyle), Paige Brombacher (200m breaststroke), Aimee Canny (50m freestyle), Lara van Niekerk (50m breaststroke)