Western Province teenage swim sensation Jessica Pengelly battled to contain her surprise after smashing her national 400 metres individual medley record, in front of a vocal crowd at the Samsung Swimming Grand Prix series at the University of the Western Cape on Saturday.
Competing in the race dubbed as the ‘Battle of the Jessica’s’, which included 12-year-old Port Elizabeth rising star Jessica Liss, Pengelly took the honours in 4 minutes and 41,94 seconds to eclipse her previous national mark of 4:43,76. KwaZulu Natal’s Kathryn Meaklim finished second with Liss third in place.
"I can’t believe it, it’s just mind-boggling," said Pengelly afterwards. "I never tapered for this gala as I have been focusing my training on posting an Olympic A qualifying time at the national championships in Durban in April, and I cannot believe this time that I achieved here today," said an excited Pengelly.
"I took a rest from my training programme on Friday. Maybe it helped me today. I am just over the moon with the time, because it motivates me to go even faster when I plan on peaking in April."
Liss meanwhile returned to the water to take the 100 metres breaststroke and the 800 metres freestyle, showing just why she is rated as one of the most talented swimmers in the country at her young age.
Day one gold medals were also won by Mandy Loots (100m butterfly), Claire Arhibald (100m backstroke), and Melissas Corfe (200m freestyle), in advance of the meet’s Sunday events.
Women’s Medals on Day 1 at the Samsung Swimming Grand Prix series, held at the University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, Saturday 23 February, 2008: