British Invasion at South African Open Water Championships

ELGIN, South Africa, February 2. A team from Great Britain dominated action at the South African Open Water Championships held in Elgin today as David Davies and Kari-Anne Payne emerged victorious from the 10K Olympic distance events. However, the top two South African finishers in the events earned spots at the World Championships held in Seville, Spain. The Great Britain squad is also using this event as its selection meet for Seville.

Davies led a trio of British swimmers sweeping the top three spots in the men's race with a time of 1:53:58. Alan Bircher (1:55:06) and James Charlesworth (1:55:27) completed the top three sweep for Great Britain.

"I've been training hard and before I came out to South Africa I had talked through tactics for the race with my coach (Kevin Renshaw) and decided to try and get myself an early lead and really starting kicking in the final 2km," Davies told British Swimming. "I was really comfortable over the first few kilometres. At one point in the final laps of the race I thought my legs might die but the motor kicked in and I felt really strong. My rhythm was good through the race so I am very happy with my performance. I felt good in the final lap and to cross the finish line when I had managed to pull away from the pack earlier in the race was a great feeling."

For the women, Payne edged Velia Janse van Rensburg, 2:05:43 to 2:05:46, for the victory, while Cassandra Patten placed third in 2:05:51.

3K age group events also took place. Martin Vogel won the boys 12-14 in 38:07.98, while Abdul-Malick Railoun earned the boys 15-16 title in 36:44.51. Kevin van den Linde earned the boys 17-18 crown in 39:35.89.

For the girls, Lisa Cowling took the 12-14 title in 42:24.96, while Dominique Dryding (38:36.11) won the 15-16 and Louise Smyth (38:31.61) claimed the 17-18 titles.

Velia Janse van Rensburg at the 2008 South African Open Water Championships