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Ho, Webber claim national open water titles

March 3, 2013
2013 SA open water champs 10km podium : Troyden Prinsloo (silver) Chad Ho (gold) Danie Marais (bronze)

2013 SA open water champs 10km podium : Troyden Prinsloo (silver) Chad Ho (gold) Danie Marais (bronze)

The South African open water swimming championships took place at the Eikenhof Dam at the Elgin Grabouw Country Club in the Western Cape this past weekend with some quality performances highlighting a successful event hosted by Western Province Aquatics

Nestled in the pristine and tranquil Kogelberg Biosphere participants found one of the best kept secrets of the Cape Overberg. The Elgin Grabouw Country Club boasts breathtaking and spectacular views of the surrounding Hottentots Holland, Nuweberg and Groenland mountains. Combined with the waterfront ambiance of the Eikenhof Dam and the majestic pine forests the venue left one with an overwhelming sense of tranquillity and enchantment.

Competitors in the 10km race assembled at the Eikenhof Dam in near perfect conditions on Saturday morning for the much anticipated showdown of the crème of South African open water swimmers who had gathered to to race for high stakes – the top two finishers would book their tickets to the FINA World Swimming Championships in Barcelona later in the year. SSA performance manager Dean Price and national coach, Graham Hill were in attendance,

The men’s race was a keenly anticipated showdown with Troyden Prinsloo, Chad Ho, Dannie Marais, Rudolph Visser, stalwart Phil Emslie and the promising Garreth Beech amongst the favourites. Both Ho and Prinsloo have been busy with some international racing experience under their belts during the past few months.

From the gun all eyes were on Ho, fresh off his record fourth victory at the Midmar Mile and a fierce competitor, after the disappointment of missing out on a trip to London last year, he dearly wanted to go to Barcelona as South Africa’s top ranked competitor.  He didn’t disappoint as he immediately broke away from the pack and stamped his authority, with Troyden Prinsloo and Danie Marais in hot pursuit in a battle that endured the entire race.

Ho was relentless in his pursuit of a fast time and build a commanding lead to claim an emphatic victory in a time of 1 hour 56 minutes 00.44 seconds to claim the title by over 3 minutes, such was his domination.

The battle for the minor placing was entertaining much to the delight of the large crowd of spectators that had assembled to support and participate at these well organised championships at this pristine venue. It was here,coming into the finish that  Prinsloo called on his experience, lifting the pace to open a decisive lead over the game Marais.

Troyden Prinsloo claimed the silver in a time of  1:58.13.24 ahead of a the promising Danie Marais, who posted a personal best of 1:58.21.98 in what has been an impressive summer.  Visser followed in fourth place ahead of the evergreen Emslie and Beech.

The ladies race saw the current FINA 5km World Junior Champion Michele Weber immediately established a lead ahead over her provincial teammates, Clarice Le Roux and Sasha-Lee Nordegen.  Despite   losing her goggles on a number of occasions during the race Weber managed to claim her maiden national 10km title when she posted an excellent time of 2:10.33.87.  Clarice Le Roux  and Sasha-Lee Nordegen fought it out to the finish, with Le Roux claiming the silver with a time of 2:11.01.59, while Nordegen had to settle for the bronze in a time of 2:11.05.45.

The popular 3km event followed at 1pm with a record 144 participants taking to the water – 80 men including 4 disability athletes and 10 minutes later 64 ladies hot on their heels. Throughout the race there was much jockeying for position, with some of the faster girls getting in amongst the slower boys.  In the male’s race the overall winner was Raul Henny in a time of 37:11.71, and in the female’s race the overall winner was Jennifer van Heerden in a time of 38:17.87.

Sunday morning saw conditions change for the worse with a fierce wind blowing across the dam setting yet another challenge for 84 athletes that had assembled to race in the 5km events.

From the gun the going was tough as the field headed directly into the oncoming wind with Chad Ho, Danie Marais , Abdul-Malick Railoun , Rudolf Visser , Brandon Murray and Matthew Meyer headed out the field in a battle that saw some exciting racing. Ho and Marais picked up the pace going into the final stretch with Ho claiming the double claiming the 5km title in a time of 59:43.29 ahead of Marais less than 2 seconds behind in 59:45.01. The battle for the minor placing saw Railoun edge out up-and-coming Visser by just 28/100 of a second. Railoun’s time was 1:01:00.34 and Visser 1:01:00.62.

The ladies race saw Michelle Weber stamp her authority from the gun when she led from start to finish, finishing with a time of 1:01:04.59.  Kyna Pereira took the silver in a time of 1:01:09.77, while Carmen le Roux claimed bronze in 1:01:14.76 to complete a clean sweep for Kwa-Zulu Natal.

Chairperson of the SSA Open Water Swimming Technical Committee, Sandra Reynolds  commented after the conclusion of the event, “We feel that the champs were really great, and have had a lot of very positive feedback from many visitors.  There were many really good times swum, and as can be seem from the results, the future looks good for SA open water, especially with the crop of good youngsters coming through. “

This concluded the 2013 South African Open water swimming championships, which was well organised at an excellent venue by the dedicated and committed Western Province Aquatics fraternity.


ZwemZa / neville smith


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