Every South African a Swimmer

Trio of swimmers double up in Durban while Van Niekerk impresses again

Trio of swimmers double up in Durban while Van Niekerk impresses again
Saturday, 19 February 2022 - Rebecca Meder, Chad le Clos and Ruan Breytenbach picked up two titles each on the first morning of finals at the SA Grand Prix meet in Durban, while Lara van Niekerk impressed yet again in the breaststroke.

The 18-year-old Pretoria swimmer seems to improve with each meet. She swam a personal best time in Friday night’s 100m breaststroke heats in 1:06.52 and went marginally slower in the final but still comfortably claimed the title in 1:06.74.

In December Van Niekerk broke Tatjana Schoenmaker’s national and continental 50m breaststroke record (becoming the first South African woman to dip under 30 seconds). And on Saturday, she put that speed to good use in Durban, finishing almost a full five seconds clear of second-placed Emily Visagie.

Meanwhile, Rebecca Meder took her two golds in the 100m butterfly in 1:01.88 and the 200m individual medley in 2:16.24.

While the Durban swimmer was pleased with the victories, she wasn’t entirely satisfied with her times.

“I was hoping for a second faster on each of the races this morning so I wasn’t too stoked with the times, but I can be very happy with the wins,” she said afterwards. “And after not having a single rest day for I don’t know how many weeks, I think I can be happy with my results. Not quite satisfied though. I think every athlete wants more and wants to be faster every time they’re in the pool, but I know where I need to improve and what I need to work on,” added the 19-year-old Olympian.

After scratching from the 200m butterfly final because of a lack of training, the still-recovering Le Clos’s two titles of the morning came in the 100m freestyle in 49.41 and the 50m butterfly in 24.38, where he edged out 17-year-old Pieter Coetzé.

Coetzé later went on to claim a comfortable victory in his main event, the 100m backstroke, in 57.72. 

“I’m really happy with that. I didn’t expect to swim so fast,” said Le Clos, who, after recovering from bronchitis is still struggling with sinus issues. “I’m over the moon with the time. It’s one of the fastest times I’ve swum out of shape, so to speak, so I’m very happy.

“Getting both golds is nice. It’s all building blocks towards Nationals, the Commonwealth Games, World Championships and everything else so I’m excited.”

In Le Clos’s absence, it was Ross Hartigan who claimed top honours in the 200m butterfly, winning in a time of 2:02.92.

“I definitely had a good race. It was similar to yesterday, but the front end was quite a bit faster so I’m really happy with that. It was a lot smoother and stronger but the back end hurt a little bit. It’s been a rough week of training,” he explained.

“This is a good gala for me, six weeks out from Nationals. I get to focus on what I need to do better, see what I did right. It’s really good six weeks out to know where I’m at and know that I’m doing really well.”

Meanwhile, 19-year-old TUKS swimmer Breytenbach’s two titles came in in the 400m individual medley, which he won in a time of 4:27.63 and the 200m breaststroke in 2:20.30.

Other swimmers to claim victory on Saturday were Catherine van Rensburg in the 800m freestyle (8:59.33), Hannah Robertson in the 200m freestyle (2:04.30), Brenden Crawford in the 50m breaststroke (28.36), Natalie Landmann in the 50m backstroke (30.01), Matthew Caldwell in the 400m freestyle (4:01.31), Emma Chelius in the 50m freestyle (25.77) and Hannah Pearse in the 200m backstroke (2:17.52).

Grand Prix action continues in Durban on Saturday evening with the meet coming to an end on Sunday morning.


For further information please contact:

Swimming South Africa’s Marketing Coordinator

Mmathapelo Phale

011 404 2480 / 074 363 0001

Swimming South Africa is the governing body of aquatics in South Africa.

Its objective is to encourage the practice of aquatic disciplines for all in South Africa with the purpose of promoting swimming as a life skill through Learn to Swim programmes; providing healthy exercise to South Africans of all ages and races; recruiting recreational swimmers to compete in the various competitions; and promoting competition and athlete development to the highest level. Swimming South Africa is kindly supported by SASCOC, National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund, Arena, Sport & Recreation SA and Rand Water.