Erin Gallagher and Lara van Niekerk Steal the Show at SA National Aquatic Champs

Erin Gallagher stole the show on the fourth night of swimming at the SA National Aquatic Championships in Gqeberha, which also featured numerous other standout performances on Saturday, 15 April 2023. Photo: Swimming South Africa / Supplied 

Erin Gallagher and Lara van Niekerk stole the show on the fourth night of swimming at the SA National Aquatic Championships in Gqeberha, which also featured numerous other standout performances on Saturday, 15 April 2023.

Gallagher was elated to dip below the 58-second mark in the 100m butterfly for the first time since 2019. The 24-year-old stopped the clock on 57.84 seconds to secure qualification for both the World Championships and Olympic Games.

“It’s amazing to know that I’m on track. It’s quite emotional – I’m surprised I’m not crying right now,” said Gallagher. As for achieving the Olympic qualifying time, she added: “It was something that I was trying to go for. My coach said it was time to now swim a qualifying time so just to know that I’ve done it is such a weight lifted off my shoulders and I’m so, so grateful.”

Teen breaststroke sensation van Niekerk had earlier swum the fastest time in the world this year in the 50m breaststroke heats (29.83) and went even quicker in the evening final, taking the title in 29.78 ahead of Tatjana Schoenmaker, who also achieved the A qualifying time in 30.71.

“I really like swimming the 50m breaststroke in this pool. I can always hear the crowd going wild. I think they love watching me swim the 50m breaststroke and I think it’s just confidence knowing that I broke the African record here so every time I get here and swim the 50m I’m like – this is my pool,” said van Niekerk, who said finishing second behind Schoenmaker in the 100m breaststroke earlier in the week had spurred her on to a speedy time.

“It wasn’t an issue but I think it made me want to swim this time even more to show that I am still a very good swimmer even though I came second,” she said. “But I’m really happy for Tatjana coming first and I think once I’m rested I’ll do much better in the 100 again.”

There was a surprise A-qualification time for Duné Coetzee in the 800m freestyle. The US-based swimmer powered to victory in a time of 8:33.46.

“It’s a very big surprise. I think this is the second time I’ve properly raced the 800 so I’m super surprised and so happy,” she said. “I’m learning to fall in love with the distance races.

Meanwhile, Minke Janse van Rensburg was once again in record-breaking form, leading the way for the swimmers with a disability. The 18-year-old powered to another world record for swimmers with Down syndrome in the 100m freestyle, bettering her own mark with a time of 1:17.61.

Kat Swanepoel swam almost a full 10 seconds under the A qualifying time for the Para Swimming World Championships in Manchester in the heats of the S4 50m backstroke, finishing in an impressive time of 50.93 seconds.

One more day of competition remains, with the SA National Aquatic Championships coming to an end on Sunday, 16 April.

 

Photo 1 Caption: Erin Gallagher stole the show on the fourth night of swimming at the SA National Aquatic Championships in Gqeberha, which also featured numerous other standout performances on Saturday, 15 April 2023. Photo: Swimming South Africa / Supplied

With editing by gsport 

Please Rate this Post

0 ratings, 0 votes0 ratings, 0 votes (0 rating, 0 votes, rated)
You need to be a registered member to rate this.
Loading...

Recent Posts

Categories

Follow Us