Three more swimmers joined the party on Thursday, as the country’s provisional Youth Olympic Games squad grew to 14 members after four days of competition at the National Aquatic Championships in Port Elizabeth.
Displaying tremendous potential, 14-year-old Paige Brombacher earned the bronze medal in the women’s 200m breaststroke final in 2:31.93, more than three seconds under the required qualifying standard for the Games.
Christin Mundell finished ahead of Brombacher in 2:29.96, bettering the qualifying time she clocked in the semifinals the day before to take the silver medal, with Kaylene Corbett securing the national senior title in 2:29.90.
In the women’s 50m backstroke, bronze medallist Kerryn Herbst joined the list of qualifiers by touching the wall in 29.81, with Mariella Venter improving her qualifying time from the semi-finals by securing silver in 29.55.
Erin Gallagher won gold in 29.44, and the Commonwealth Games finalist added the 100m freestyle crown to her tally, touching in 55.74.
Three swimmers met the required youth mark in the 200m butterfly final, with Tiago Cordeiro earning bronze in 2:03.26, joining silver medallist Ethan du Preez (2:02.73) and fourth-placed finisher Ryan Breytenbach (2:03.26) who both produced faster times than their qualifying performances in the semifinals. Daniel Ronaldson held off the charge from the youngsters to grab gold in 2:00.47.
In the men’s 50m backstroke, Henju Duvenhage also went quicker in the final to cement his place in the national youth squad with a 26.57 performance, which was good enough for the silver medal behind Jacques van Wyk who topped the podium in 25.78.
Meanwhile, Kate Beavon and Dune Coetzee each added a second event to their provisional Youth Olympic programmes by taking gold (4:14.58) and silver (4:14.81) respectively in a hard-fought women’s 400m freestyle contest.
Confirming his place in the squad for the 100m freestyle event, Gawie Nortje went quicker than he did in the penultimate round, claiming the silver medal in 50.81. Senior opponents Doug Erasmus (50.66) and Van Wyk (51.22) earned gold and bronze.
In the 200m breaststroke final, Ayrton Sweeney raced to a convincing victory in 2:14.64, while Brent Szurdoki won the 400m freestyle title in 3:54.81.
In the multi-disability 100m breaststroke finals, the gold medals went to Johann van Heerden (SB9), who was quickest in 1:12.16, Raymond de Freitas (SB14), who finished in 1:23.83, Alani Ferreira (SB13), who touched in 1:26.87, and Michaela Kretzen (SB14) who clocked 1:49.10.
Youth Olympic Games qualifiers
Michael Houlie – 100m breaststroke (1:02.57)
Henju Duvenhage – 50m backstroke (26.57)
Ethan du Preez – 200m butterfly (2:02.73)
Ruan Breytenbach – 200m butterfly (2:03.26)
Tiago Cordeiro – 200m butterfly (2:03.26)
Riccardo di Domenico – 50m butterfly (25.00)
Luan Grobbelaar – 200m individual medley (2:05.82)
Gawie Nortje – 100m freestyle (50.81)
Christin Mundell – 100m breaststroke (1:10.72); 200m individual medley (2:18.31); 200m breaststroke (2:29.96)
Mariella Venter – 100m backstroke (1:01.86); 200m individual medley (2:18.35); 50m backstroke (29.55)
Kerryn Herbst – 50m backstroke (29.81)
Kate Beavon – 200m freestyle (2:03.27); 400m freestyle (4:14.58)
Dune Coetzee – 200m butterfly (2:14.73); 400m freestyle (4:14.82)
Paige Brombacher – 200m breaststroke (2:31.93)