Lara van Niekerk carries SA to the podium at world champs
Pretoria schoolgirl Lara van Niekerk won SA’s only medal of the swimming world championships in Budapest on Saturday night, claiming bronze in the women’s 50m breaststroke.
Her third place also made her just the second SA woman to win a medal at this showpiece, after Tatjana Schoenmaker’s 200m breaststroke silver in 2019.
Veteran Ruta Meilutyte of Lithuania led from the start to win in 29.70sec. Italian teenager Benedetta Pilato, the 100m breaststroke world champion and owner of the 29.30 world record in this event, was second in 29.80.
The 19-year-old Van Niekerk touched in 29.90.
“I’m so happy. It’s my first world champs so winning a medal is a bonus,” Van Niekerk said.