DURBAN, South Africa, March 18. FOR most age groupers the TELKOM SA Level 3 Championships will be about as huge an event that they have participated in, and if there had been nervous excitement at the first day of competition, it would have been taken care of by the 400m timed finals yesterday.
The events went off smoothly with high elbows and good levels of fitness being common among the 30 heats of 400m Freestyle that took place.
International star Chad le Clos got his gala off with a good start winning the 400m Free in the top age group. He went through 100m in 54.5 and kept a steady pace with his club-mate from Seagulls, Myles Brown, swimming next to him up to the 300m mark. Le Clos turned on the afterburners in the final 100m to win by three seconds in 3m54.44.
"I'm happy with how the race went. I knew Myles was next to me, and I didn't want to go too fast in the middle part of the race", said the likeable Durbanite afterwards. He also said that he is looking forward to swimming his favorite 200m Butterfly event on Saturday as well as the 200m Freestyle.
Through the age groups, the evenings racing belonged to another Durbanite, the veteran Kings Park coach Al Hatfield. His swimmers won four events and the only South African record of the evening came from his charges.
Michelle Weber, 14, swam to a dazzling 4m15.83 in her 400m Free. Not only did this obliterate the 2004 SA record of Wendy Trott by six seconds exactly, it was also the best time of the evening among the female swimmers.
When we consider that Trott is the holder of all the SA records for 400m freestyle from 14 – 18 years, and that she is an established international swimming, we can clearly see that there is a bright swimming star on the horizon for South African swimming.
"She works about as hard as I've ever seen anyone work in the pool and that amazing time is thoroughly deserved ", said Hatfield about his newest SA record holder last night.
Kevin Bargate, 12, won the first race of the day for Hatfields newly established club, Action Swim Academy in 4m27.91, Sasha-Lee Nordengen, 13, won their second gold in 4m36.56, Weber won the 14 year-old girls with that SA record, and Lindsay McLeod, 16, won her SA Title in 4m25.10.
"Some years you have a bunch of athletes that work hard, and some years not", said the Action coach about his successful evening.
Results from Day 1
1.Kevin Bargate (Action) 4m27.91, 2. Ude Fuchs (PSA) 4m39.76, Bailey Muusgrave (NDSA) 4m43.36
12 & under Girls
1.Nikita Bauristhene (WSTV) 4m41.36, 2. Nathania van Niekerk 4m43.36, 3. Samantha Randle (TUKS) 4m47.44
13 years Boys
1.Eben Vorster (Centurion) 4m24.65, 2. Gareth Wood (MUST) 4m30.24, Brendan Levy (SGUL) 4m31.48
13 Years Girls
1.Sasha-Lee Nordengen (Action) 4m36.56, 2. Marlies Ross (TUKS) 4m36.81, 3. Roh-Anne Coetzee (BISH) 4m42.06
14 years Boys
1.Bryan Gray (Stingrays) 4m17.76, 2. Brent Szurdoki (WATR) 4m19.28, 3. BF Burger 4m24.76
14 Years Girls
1.Michelle Weber (Action) 4m15.83 (SA RECORD), 2. Kyna Pereira (NDSA) 4m25.90, 3. Marce Loubser (Players) 4m39.72
15 Years Boys
1.Juan-Claude Fitchat (SEAL) 4m09.94, 2. Chistopher Reid (Aquabear) 4m10.28, 3. Calvyn Justus (Sgull) 4m18.43
15 Years Girls
1.Jennifer van Heerden (Cado) 4m25.94, 2. Zoe Venter (MDOL) 4m29.26, 3. Chanel Johnston (Watr) 4m32.69, 3. Juane du Plessis (Blott) 4m32.69
16 Years Boys
1.Ruan du Plessis (BLSS-FS) 4m09.49, 2. Reynier Pretorius (Blott) 4m12.30, 3. Paul van Achterbergh (WSTV)4m12.97
16 Years Girls
1.Lindsay McLeod (Action) 4m25.10, 2. Kayla Ferreira (Players) 4m32.22, 3. Sharne Dicks (Vineyard) 4m33.72
17 – 18 Years Boys
1.Chad le Clos (Sgull) 3m54.44, 2. Myles Brown (Sgull) 3m57.44, 3. Michael Meyer (MDOL) 4m02.20
17 – 18 Years Girls
1. Natasha de Vos (Tuks) 4m20.95, Bianca Hauzer (MDOL) 4m28.72, Shannon Austen (Players) 4m29.84
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