THE South African swimmers raced passed their 2007 medal tally of 53 to take their haul to 60 medals with still a day to go at the All Africa Games in Maputo, Mozambique on Friday night.
Chad le Clos started the South African charge of another six gold medals with a comfortable victory in the men’s 200m butterfly, setting a new championship record in 1:56.37 to finish well ahead of Kenya’s Jason Dunford who took the silver in 2:02.52. Pedro Pinotes earned Angola’s second medal of the Games in 2:05.47.
Zimbabwean Kirsty Coventry broke what could have been a full house of golds in the finals by the South Africans, winning the women’s 200m individual medley in 2:13.70 – two seconds ahead of the evergreen Mandy Loots while Kathryn Meaklim took the bronze in 2:18.60.
Charl Crous and Darren Murray responded with the top spots in the men’s 100m backstroke after another exciting tussle. Crous took the honours in a Games record in 55.26sec with Murray continuing his good form to record a fast 55.96sec. Mohamed Hussein earned Egypt’s second medal of the Games in taking the bronze in 57.63sec.
The disabled swimmers kept their unbeaten record with the gold and silver in both the women’s and men’s 100m backstroke in the S6 to S10 categories. Natalie du Toit ended with the gold after getting closest to her categories World Record after clocking 1:11.73. Shireen Sapiro took the silver in 1:10.86 while Irene Bandeira took Angola’s third medal of the Games in 1:57.66.
Achmat Hassiem kept that SA flag flying after winning the men’s 100m backstroke by over seven seconds, clocking 1:11.39. Kevin Waller was the runner-up in 1:18.62 with another Angolan medal going the way of Silvio Lopes in 1:22.59.
But it was in-form Karin Prinsloo who put the SA flag back into perspective with a fine victory in the women’s 50m freestyle. Although she clocked 25.98sec to win the final, she also took the Games record in the heats in 25.86sec. Zimbabwean Nicole Horn took the silver in 26.73sec with Suzaan van Biljon stealing the bronze for South Africa in 26.75sec in the closest final of the championships.
Prinsloo was back in action in the women’s 4 x 100m medley relay, leading the SA team off to their 26th gold so far and another sound victory. Van Biljon (breaststroke), Loots (butterfly) and Natasha de Vos (freestyle) won by 10 seconds in 4:14,00 – with Zimbabwe taking the silver and Algeria the bronze.
Swimming Medals for Day 5:
6 gold, 4 silver and 2 bronze medals – total 12 medals
Total Swimming Medals after Day 5:
26 gold, 17 silver and 17 bronze medals – total 60 medals