JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, February 24. SOMERSET West-based swimming golden girl Jessica Pengelly doubled up on her national record-breaking spree, in shaving a fraction of a second off of Suzaan van Biljon's previous mark, on the final day of the Samsung Swimming Grand Prix series held at the University of the Western Cape today.
Pengelly, 16, clocked 2:16.41 in the 200 meter individual medley, to eclipse van Biljon's previous SA best of 2:16.42. This effort followed her 400 meter individual medley record set the previous day, when she bettered her own country best to 4:41.94.
"My breaststroke swimming is a major factor in my success, but I am still stunned by the times as I am busy with hard training and wasn't expecting to get near the national marks in February," said Pengelly, who will collect a 10k check as women's high pointer.
KwaZulu Natal's Riaan Schoeman will be smiling all the way to the bank with his 10k check for topping the men's points rankings, with his victory in the 200 meter individual medley (2:06.21) and second placing in the 200 meter breaststroke in 2:22.69, having helped his cause.
This followed on his 400 meter individual medley victory and second-place finish in the 200 meter butterfly the previous day.
World 50 meter backstroke champion and national squad captain Gerhard Zandberg took the 50 meter freestyle honors in 22.84, with Shaun Harris (22.90) and Cameron van der Burgh (23.81), completing the top three placings.
Port Elizabeth's 12-year-old swimming star Jessica Liss had the crowd cheering her on to a brisk 200 meter breaststroke time of 2:30.17, and will fancy her chances of posting an Olympic A qualifying time at the national championships in Durban in April.
Swimming SA President Jace Naidoo expressed his excitement at the manner in which the Samsung Swimming Grand Prix series has captured the imagination of SA's swimming community in Olympic year.
"The Samsung Swimming Grand Prix series has certainly made its mark on the domestic sports calendar, by giving swimming fans the chance to watch their favorite swim stars in action while also giving the young rising talent the chance to swim against the experienced elite squad swimmers," said Naidoo. "I look forward to many a rising star letting the swimming world know that they arrived in big time swimming during the inaugural Samsung Swimming Grand Prix series."
Special thanks to Swimming South Africa for contributing this report.