An impressive squad of Grahamstown swimmers came back laden with medals from the annual Aquabear Swim Club gala in Port Elizabeth this past weekend.
The gala had its highest attendance numbers to date with over 570 swimmers flocking to the Bay. Besides claiming scores of medals, the group of 27 local swimmers saw a provincial relay record broken and one Kingswood pupil was named the overall women's winner.
But DSG swimming coach Sheena Price, who coaches most of the swimmers, said that the experience they gain is just as important as coming home with accolades. It's important for the swimmers to win but I put emphasis on personal achievements and goals - not only on the colour of your medal, Price said.
She reported that in the 11- and 12-year age group three local swimmers Caydn Barker (Diocesan School for Girls), Tilabo Williamson (DSG) and Brendan Gouws (Graeme) qualified for Level 2. The coach said that a promising talent to keep an eye on in the next few years is 14-year-old John Maree who made a few finals and won a medal in the 50m Backstroke last weekend.
John was also instrumental in Aquabear winning a silver and gold in the relays. In the Open men's and women's events, Grahamstown swimmers dominated the competition with Kingswood pupil Tamlyn Price being named the women's overall winner and Rhodes University student Simon Pheasant finishing second in the men's division.
Tamlyn also set a new Eastern Province record in the Open 50m Backstroke and bagged an astounding nine medals of which four were gold. Pheasant also had his fair share of medals, coming home with four gold and two silvers.
Robyn Charter of DSG won two silver medals and Erin Graham, also DSG, collected four bronze medals in the individual events. Adding to Aquabear's scores was the women's 200m Freestyle relay team consisting of Tamlyn Price, Erin Graham, Jess White (DSG) and Michaela Barnes (PE), who scraped off four split-seconds to set a new EP record.
The men's 200m Freestyle relay team doubled up the winnings with another podium gold. Simon Pheasant and St Andrew's College pupil Brynn Williams were on the team. “It's a fair statement to say it's going swimmingly in Grahamstown with 27 swimmers who participated over the weekend,” Price said.
Girls from Collegiate High School
Aquabear is proud to have the current SA NAG Open champion, SA 16-18 Champion, SA 13-15 runner-up and SA NAG 2010 10&U champion. Aquabear finished 3rd at NAG in 2011 and won the SA Level 2 Championships in 2012. At Level 2 Aquabear won three of the five age groups. With NAG taking place in Port Elizabeth in December 2012 Aquabear is going all out to become the top club.
Moira competed at synchronized swimming for EPA for several years and started coaching with Mrs Dot Schoombee in the 1970’s while competing. Moira has coached both the SA senior and junior teams at an international level. Moira is a qualified FINA G judge and judged at the last two Commonwealth Games in Melbourne and Delhi. She is currently the convener of SA synchronized swimming technical committee. Several of her swimmers have represented South Africa over the years. The swimmers who are still competing include:
Kerry Norden who has represented SA on many occasions and swam at the FINA World Aquatics Championships in Shanghai in 2011. She won gold at the SA Nationals in 2011 and 2012 for figures and was runner-up in the SA solos in 2012. She won gold at the SA National Age Groups 2011 for figures and solo.
Courtney Musson who competed in the 2010 SA 13-15 team and is currently the SA 16-18 champion and short listed to compete at Junior Worlds in 2012.
Mieke Struwig who competed in the SA 13-15 team in 2011 and was runner-up in this age group at NAG 2011.