SA Olympic Trials Day 7: Humble in Victory, Proud in Defeat

I salute all athletes who competed at the SA National Aquatic Championships and Olympic Trials 2016. I dedicate this poem to you this morning to salute you WHEREVER YOU ARE IN YOUR SWIM JOURNEY.

“Build me a son, O Lord, who will be strong enough to know when he is weak, and brave enough to face himself when he is afraid; one who will be proud and unbending in honest defeat, and humble and gentle in victory.

Build me a son whose wishbone will not be where his backbone should be; a son who will know Thee and that to know himself is the foundation stone of knowledge. Lead him, I pray, not in the path of ease and comfort, but under the stress and spur of difficulties and challenge. Here let him learn to stand up in the storm; here let him learn compassion for those who fail.

Build me a son whose heart will be clean, whose goal will be high; a son who will master himself before he seeks to master other men; one who will learn to laugh, yet never forget how to weep; one who will reach into the future, yet never forget the past.

And after all these things are his, add, I pray, enough of a sense of humor, so that he may always be serious, yet never take himself too seriously. Give him humility, so that he may always remember the simplicity of greatness, the open mind of true wisdom, the meekness of true strength.

Then I, his father, will dare to whisper, “I have not lived in vain.””

-General Douglas MacArthur

The SA National Aquatic Championships were successfully concluded on Saturday night with 10 athletes making 13 Olympic Qualifying Times. In the multi-disability section, a phenomenal 5 female and 5 male swimmers clocked 17 Paralympic Qualifying Times during the week-long competition which took place at the Kings Park Aquatics Centre in Durban.


The KZN trio of Chad le Clos, Matthew Meyer and Brad Tandy entrenched their names firmly in the minds of the national selectors as they confirmed their Olympic qualifying times on the last evening of the competition.

Le Clos’ outstanding performance earned him his third Olympic Qualification time and the gold medal in the 100m butterfly when he touched the wall in 51.82 ahead of Dylan Bosch in 53.00 and Ryan Coetzee in 53.21.


Chad le Clos

In the 50m freestyle, Tandy sped to the finish line in an Olympic Qualification time of 22.13, followed by Douglas Erasmus in 22.55 and Roland Schoeman in 22.75.

Finishing over five seconds ahead of the pack, Meyer scooped the gold in the 1500m freestyle with an Olympic Qualification time of 15:09.58 to the 15:14.77 requirement. Brent Szurdoki won the silver in 15:15.50 and Josh Dannhauser the bronze in 15:44.57.

In the non-Olympic 50m breaststroke final, Cameron van der Burgh was once again on top, clocking 27.17, with the silver medal going to Giulio Zorzi in 27.50 and the bronze to Jarred Crous in 27.99, while in the tightly contested 50m butterfly race, Brett Walsh finished first in 24.21 ahead of Reynard Wessels in 24.31 and Nico Meyer in 24.40.


Cameron van der Burgh

Nathania van Niekerk ended the competition with a gold medal in the 200m backstroke, touching the wall in 2:11.33 ahead of Mariella Venter in 2:11.99 and Samantha Randle in 2:17.28, while the 50m breaststroke was won by Tara Nicholas in 31.82 to Taryn Mackenzie’s 32.15 and Tatjana Schoenmaker’s 32.25.


Tatjan Schoenmaker – Photo Credits: Brian Spurr Photography

Tayla Lovemore was quick off the block in the 50m freestyle, winning the event in 25.97 to Jessica Ashley-Cooper’s 26.10 and Emma Chelius’ 26.40, while Vanessa Mohr, Felicity Passon and Hannah McLean-Leonard topped the 50m butterfly final in 26.85, 28.06 and 28.41 respectively.

Vanessa FB

Vanessa Mohr

Carissa van Rooyen celebrated her win in the 50m backstroke in 30.41, followed by Gabi Grobler in 30.47 and Catherine Sainsbury in 30.56, while on the men’s side, Ricky Ellis came first in his respective backstroke race in 25.83, while Jacques van Wyk and Christopher Reid shared the silver medal in 25.97.

Podium photo 100m back

Podium photo 100m back

Carissa van Rooyen – the very young 13 year at her first SA Nationals 2016

In the long distance 800m freestyle, Michelle Weber came from behind and walked away with the gold medal in 8:57.68 ahead of Jessica Whelan (8:58.68) and Kristin Bellingan (8:59.03).

In the multi-disability category, Aaron Putz won the S14 and S15 50m breaststroke title in 35.33 ahead of Pierre Dellieu in 32.87 and Raymond de Freitas in 36.66, while on the ladies side, Maritza Snyder claimed the gold in 45.74 and Michaela Kretzen and Cornelia Fowler the silver and bronze in 49.25 and 50.18 respectively.

In the S1-S13 events, Hendrik van der Merwe was victorious in 46.85 with the silver going to Johann van Heerden in 32.40 and the bronze to Jean Pretorius in 35.96, as Britney Strumpher won her respective race in 37.29 ahead of Alani Ferreira in 41.17 and Sannon Martins in 47.39.


Hendrik van der Merwe


Achmat Hassiem

Achmat Hasseim, a Paralympian from South African arrives at Terminal 1 of Heathrow Airport in London.

Achmat Hasseim, a Paralympian from South African arrives at Terminal 1 of Heathrow Airport in London.

The final Olympic and Paralympic teams will be selected by SASCOC.

The staging of this event was made possible through the support provided by Swimming SA partners, Sport and Recreation South Africa, SASCOC, National Lotteries Commission, Arena, Rand Water and the SABC.

Final List of Olympic Qualifying Times:

  • Sebastien Rousseau – 400m individual medley – 4:14.75
  • Michael Meyer – 400m individual medley – 4:15.71
  • Myles Brown – 400m freestyle – 3:48.86
  • Cameron van der Burgh – 100m breaststroke – 59.66
  • Cameron van der Burgh – 200m breaststroke – 2:10.13
  • Christopher Reid – 100m backstroke – 54.02
  • Chad le Clos – 200m freestyle – 1:47.75
  • Chad le Clos – 200m butterfly  – 1:55.04
  • Chad le Clos – 100m butterfly – 51.82
  • Jarred Crous – 200m breaststroke – 2:11.65
  • Brad Tandy – 50m freestyle – 22.13
  • Douglas Erasmus – 50m freestyle – 22.26
  • Matthew Meyer – 1500m freestyle – 15:09.58

Final list of Paralympic Qualifying Times:

  • Kevin Paul (SM10) – 200m individual medley – 2:15.78
  • Kevin Paul (SB9) – 100m breaststroke – 1:05.10
  • Johann van Heerden (SB9) – 100m breaststroke – 1:12.64
  • Alani Ferreira (SM13) – 200m individual medley – 2:50.43
  • Alani Ferreira (S13) – 400m freestyle – 5:21.00
  • Alani Ferreira (SB13) – 100m breaststroke – 1:26.90
  • Alani Ferreira (S13) – 100m butterfly – 1:23.37
  • Emily Gray (S9) – 400m freestyle – 5:05.36
  • Emily Gray (S10) – 100m backstroke – 1:17.17
  • Craig Groenewald (SB14) – 100m breaststroke – 1:12.33
  • Hendri Herbst (S11) – 100m backstroke – 1:16.84
  • Hendri Herbst (S11) – 100m freestyle – 1:00.01
  • Hendri Herbst (S11) – 50m freestyle – 27.24
  • Shireen Sapiro (S10) – 100m backstroke – 1:11.87
  • Achmat Hassiem (S10) – 100m butterfly – 1:00.44
  • Beth Nothling (S5) – 50m backstroke – 55.50
  • Adri Visser (S5) – 50m butterfly – 52.02

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