The South African Open Water Swim Champs delivered world class swimming at Marina Martinique over the weekend.
South Africa’s top talent took up the challenge of swimming against international stars like multiple world champion Ana da Cunha from Brazil during the two day event in Jeffreys Bay.
da Cunha (26) and South African Olympian Michelle Weber (22) celebrated their well deserved first and second place in the 10 km race, by claiming the same positions in the 5 km swim as well.
They clocked 1:00:14.37 and 1:00:16.34 in the hotly contested 5 km swim, with the lead changing several times.
“I am really happy with my races this weekend. Ana is a world champion so finishing right behind her helped me assess how I am positioned in the build up to the 2020 Olympic Games,” said Michelle Weber.
“Like all races I have gained experience over the weekend so I can now apply more changes to my training programs.
I really love competing and racing at Marina Martinique and would like to thank everyone who made this weekend happen.
It’s also great to see how open water swimming is growing and I am excited to see where South African Open Water Swimming will be in the years to come,” added Weber.
In the men’s 5 km event, Hungary’s Daniel Szekelyi (23) put the hammer down early on in the race and dominated proceedings to finish in a time of 56:11;70.
Fellow Hungarian Peter Galicz (18) came second with Namibia’s Phillip Seidler claiming the bronze medal.
The top three places in the men’s 3km 12-14 age group went to Dennis de Villiers (12) in 37:33.00, Connor Albertyn (14) in 39:59.80 and Enzo Pretorius (14) in 40:24.00, while Flippie vd Spuy (15), Zac Ellis (15) and Connor Buck (15) won the 15-16 event in 36:26.60, 37:15.00 and 37:16.50, respectively.
Cole Craig (18) bagged the gold in the 17-18 3km race in 37:22.30 ahead of Seyuran Perumal (17) in 37:27.00 and Nicholas Campbell (17) in 37:28.00, while the ladies’ 17-18 gold was claimed by Payton Horton (18) in 40:01.10 followed by Jessica Smit (18) in 40:02.30 and Thelise Saunders (18) in 40:08.10.
The girls’ 12-14 3km medals went to Leigh McMorran (14) in 39:05.40, Catherine van Rensburg (14) in 39:49.00 and Chloe le Roux in 39:53.90, with the 15-16 gold going to Kaitlyn Albertyn (16) in 38:53.60, the silver to Trinity Hearne (15) in 39:26.50 and the bronze to Emilie Krog (16) in 39:43.40.
Kouga Mayor Elza Van Lingen congratulated the swimmers and organisers of the event and said that Marina Martinique once again proved why it is so highly regarded as a world class open water swim venue.
“It was wonderful to see the Olympians competing in Jeffreys Bay and raising the standard of open water swimming in South Africa.
The SA Open Water Swim Champs is a well organised event that is held at a world class venue with the fast times being recorded proving that Marina Martinique is one of the best venues for open water swimmers,” said Van Lingen.
This year’s SA Open Water Swim Champs also doubles as the official qualifier for the 4th FINA World Junior Open Water Swimming Championships, which will be held in Israel from 7th to 9th September 2018, and the top two athletes in the relevant age groups (14-15, 16-17 and 18-19) will be considered for selection by Swimming South Africa.
The next swim event at Marina Martinique is the Cold Water Swim Classic which forms part of the annual JBay Winterfest.