Competing in her first ever World Championships final after setting a new African record on Sunday, Erin Gallagher finished seventh in the 100m butterfly in 57.83 seconds, at the World Aquatics Championships in Doha on Tuesday, 12 February, 2024.
Germany’s Angelina Kohler claimed the gold medal in a time of 56.28 with American Claire Curzan taking silver in 56.61 and Sweden’s Louise Hansson the bronze in 56.94.
“I’m very happy and blessed to have swum in my first-ever world champs final,” said Gallagher.
“It was such an incredible experience. There’s a lot to take away from the race. I think my coach wanted me to go out faster in the first 50, which I’m happy I was able to do. The second 50 hurt just a little bit more, but there’s so much to learn from this, going forward.”New 100m Butterfly African Record Holder, Erin Gallagher
“I’m looking forward to the rest of the week and just seeing what I can do. It’s very good race practice for the year ahead.”
Lara van Niekerk was some way off her best time, in both the heats and semifinal of the 100m breaststroke.
She finished sixth in her heat in 1:07.61 but, unlike Lithuania’s defending world champion Ruta Meilutyte, still managed to progress to the semifinals, where she then finished in seventh place, in 1:07.25, and out of finals contention.
“It was a tough race but I felt good, better than in Japan last year even though it was slightly slower. I’m getting my rhythm back and swimming more like my old stroke, which is a positive,” said Van Niekerk.
“I did have a better swim in the semifinal than in the heats this morning, so our adjustments did work and we are getting there, but there’s still a lot of work to do.
“This is what this gala was all about – to see what we still need to adjust and do leading up to Paris.”South African Breaststroke Champion, Lara van Niekerk
Earlier in the day, Stephanie Houtman won her 1500m freestyle heat in a time of 16:35.39 to finish 18th overall and did not progress to the final.
The only other South Africans in action were 17-year-old Milla Drakopoulos, who finished 26th overall in the women’s 100m backstroke heats in 1:02.80, missing out on a spot in the evening semifinals.
Photo Caption: A lot of work to do as Team South Africa swimmers at the Aquatics World Cup focus on making fine-tune adjustments with an eye on the year ahead, includign the 2024 Paris Summer Olympic Games. Photo: SA Sports Images