The SA National Aquatic Championships were successfully concluded on Sunday with a total of 12 athletes making the Olympic A, and 16 multi-disability swimmers clocking the Paralympic A qualifying times, during the week-long competition which took part at the Kings Park Aquatic Centre in Durban.
Karin Prinsloo, Wendy Trott, Yvonne Smith and Natalie du Toit entrenched their names firmly in the minds of the national selectors as they added their name to the list of Olympic A and Paralympic A level qualifying mark on the last evening of the SA National Aquatic Championships.
Prinsloo sped to a golden finish in the 200m backstroke with a phenomenal 2:10.76 ahead of Jessica Ashley-Cooper in 2:16.53 and Natasha van Niekerk in 2:16.97.
Finishing over ten seconds ahead of the pack, Trott scooped the gold in the 800m freestyle with an Olympic A Qualifying Time of 8:30.61. Jessica Pengelly and Michelle Weber came second and third in 8:41.40 and 8:44.10 respectively.
In the S14 200m freestyle Yvonne Smith cracked the Paralympic A Qualifying Times when she touched 20 seconds ahead of the Paralympic requirement in 2:21.08.
Paralympian Natalie du Toit was once again in top form, adding her sixth A Qualifying Time in the 200m individual medley in 2:37.30, while Renette Bloem (SM11) made her second time in 3:30.50.
In the 50m breaststroke, Suzaan van Biljon took home the title, clocking 32.61 with Taryn MacKenzie (32.78) coming in second and Justine MacFarlane (33.29).
Besides the senior athletes, a pool of raising talent participated in the competition, proving once again that the future of swimming in South Africa is indeed bright. Trudy Maree was over the moon with her gold medal in the 50m freestyle, clocking a fast 25.38 ahead of Lehesta Kemp in 26.17 and Karin Prinsloo in 26.26.
Vanessa Mohr (26.53) took the honours in the 50m butterfly event, while the silver medal went to Marne Erasmus (27.69), and the bronze to Jessica Ashley-Cooper (27.96).
Australia’s Sophie Edington showed great pace in the 50m backstroke, winning in 28.82 while Jessica Ashley-Cooper won the silver in 29.75 and Amy Peens the bronze in 30.35.
During the week-long competition, a total 17 Olympic A and 39 Paralympic A Qualifying Times were claimed across South Africa’s men and women swimmers by 12 and 16 athletes respectively.
The final Olympic and Paralympic team will be selected by SASCOC. The staging of the SA National Aquatic Championships was made possible through the financial support of Telkom and the KwaZulu Natal Department of Sport and Recreation as well as support provided by Swimming SA partners, SASCOC, Sport and Recreation South Africa, National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund, Arena and Tsogo Sun.
A-Qualifying Times for the 2012 Olympic Games: * Suzaan van Biljon – 200m breaststroke – 2:26.74 * Kathryn Meaklim – 400m individual medley – 4:37.70 * Kathryn Meaklim – 200m individual medley (SF) – 2:13.33 * Wendy Trott – 800m freestyle – 8:30.61 * Karin Prinsloo – 200m backstroke – 2:10.76
A-Qualifying Times for the 2012 Paralympic Games: * Shireen Sapiro (S10) – 100m backstroke – 1:10.70 * Shireen Sapiro (S10) – 400m freestyle – 5:00.10 * Natalie du Toit (S9) – 100m backstroke – 1:14.78 * Natalie du Toit (SB8) – 100m breaststroke – 1:29.84 * Natalie du Toit (S9) – 100m freestyle – 1:05.75 * Natalie du Toit (S9) – 100m butterfly – 1:12.34 * Natalie du Toit (S9) – 400m freestyle – 4:35.54 * Natalie du Toit (SM9) – 200m individual medley – 2:37.30 * Emily Gray (S10) – 100m backstroke – 1:16.88 * Emily Gray (S10) – 400m freestyle – 5:01.77 * Sharah-Joan Shannon (S3) – 100m freestyle – 2:58.02 * Yvonne Smith (SB14) – 100m breaststroke – 1:32.43 * Yvonne Smith (S14) – 200m freestyle – 2:24.24 * Renette Bloem (SB11) – 100m breaststroke – 1:39.06 * Renette Bloem (SM11) – 200m individual medley – 3:30.50 * Marike Naude (SB13) – 100m breaststroke – 1:41.27 * Adri Visser (S5) – 50m butterfly – 57.59