THE South African swimming team competing at the Commonwealth Youth Games in the Isle of Man opened with eight medals on the first day of the short course competition on Friday night.
Marne Erasmus was the first among the gold medals after an excellent performance in the women’s 50m butterfly. Erasmus raced to a fast 26.56sec to edge out New Zealand’s Sophie Batchelor by 0.26sec while Vanessa Puhlmann (Australia) bagged the bronze in 27.38sec. Kyla Ferreira ended 8th in 28.61sec.
Ferreira had earlier challenged in the women’s 100m freestyle, finishing fourth in an outstanding 56.40sec.
Kelly Gunnell came so close to the gold in the women’s 100m breaststroke where she was pipped by 0.33sec, clocking a fast 1:08.26. Sycerika McMahon (Northern Ireland) stole the gold in 1:07.93 with Emily Jones (Scotland) the bronze in 1:09.04. Another South African featured, Justine McFarlane, finishing 5th in 1:09.55.
Another silver medal went to Hendrick Alberts in the men’s 50m butterfly. Australia’s Chris Raven won in 23.80sec with Alberts edging out New Zealand’s Alexander Hancock by 0.01sec in 24.46sec.
The medal tally jumped to eight for the swimmers with five bronze medals going their way. Martin Vogel had set the tone in the opening men’s 400m individual medley event where he clocked a solid 4:20.55; Chris van der Sande clocked up an excellent 1:59.21 in the men’s 200m backstroke; Kurt Benjamin recorded a 1:06.37 for his bronze while Michelle Weber clocked an encouraging 8:38.26 in the women’s 800m freestyle to complete the individual bronze medals.
The men’s 4 x 100m medley relay team of Alberts, Benjamin, Luke Pendock and Van der Sande raced to a 3:46.13 to finish third behind Australia (3:38.68) and Scotland (3:41.50). The women’s 4 x 100m freestyle relay team of Tiffany Combrink, Erasmus, Ferreira and Weber finished 5th in 3:50.97.