JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, December 4. SA swim star William Diering spoiled Oussama Mellouli's golden evening, in taking the 200 meter breaststroke title ahead of the Tunisian great on the fourth evening of the 9th African Swimming Championships held at the Ellis Park Aquatics Centre here today.
Earlier, Olympic 1500 meters champion Mellouli, had cruised to wins in the 200 individual medley (2:06.04) and 400 freestyle events (3:58.17), but Diering showed the sort of determination which saw him collect the bronze medal at the FINA World Short Course Championships in Manchester, England earlier this year, to take on and beat the best.
The Pretoria swimmer clocked a new championship record time of 2:16.00, with Mellouli next best in 2:17.57 in the 200 breaststroke final. Another of SA's talented youth brigade swimmers, Chad le Clos claimed bronze for SA in 2:24.20.
Three-time Olympian Mandy Loots made yet another trip to the medal podium after winning the 100 butterfly in a championship record time of 1:00.58, while in the 100 breaststroke, Kenyan Achieng Ajulu-Bushell (1:12.88) was challenged all the way by Tunisian Sarra Lajnef (1:13.30), with Port Elizabeth teenage swimmer Jessica Liss, claiming bronze in 1:13.49.
Mellouli however, had the last laugh over the South Africans as he inspired the Tunisian 400 freestyle relay team to victory in 3:29.79. The SA contingent of George du Rand, Pierre Wirth, Garth Tune and Riaan Schoeman, placed second in 3:32.34, ahead of the Senegal (3:42.24).
The hosting of the African showpiece event in Johannesburg has been made possible through the support of Telkom, the City of Jo'burg, the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund, Sport and Recreation SA, Gauteng Sport and Recreation, Arena and Bestmed.
Swimmers from countries including Algeria, Angola, Egypt, Guinea, Kenya, Ivory Coast, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, Zimbabwe and the hosts, South Africa have been a part of the challenge for medals.
The 5k open water swimming of the African Swimming Championships, will take place at Victoria Lake in Germiston on Sunday.
Special thanks to Swimming South Africa for contributing this article.
200 meters individual medley: 1 O Mellouli (Tun) 2:06.04, 2 C le Clos (SA) 2:06.76, 3 T Mrabet (Tun) 2:08.54
400 meters freestyle: 1 O Mellouli (Tun) 3:58.17, 2 R Schoeman (SA) 3:58.57, 3 A Mathlouthi (Tun) 4:06.22
200 meters breaststroke: 1 W Diering (SA) 2:16.00, 2 O Mellouli (Tun) 2:17.57, 3 C le Clos (SA) 2:24.20
400 meters freestyle relay: 1 Tunisia 3:29.79, 2 South Africa 3:32.34, 3 Senegal 3:42.24
100 meters butterfly: 1 M Loots (SA) 1:00.58, 2 M Scott (SA) 1:03.46, 3 M Meddeb (Tun) 1:04.01
100 meters breaststroke: 1 A Ajulu-Bushell (Ken) 1:12.88, 2 S Lajnef (Tun) 1:13.30, 3 J Liss (SA) 1:13.49