Lara van Niekerk lowers her own African record at SA championships


By isaacsond@sundaytimes.co.za (David Isaacson)

Double Commonwealth Games champion Lara van Niekerk broke the African record as she won the women’s 50m breaststroke at the SA short-course championships in Pietermaritzburg on Saturday night. 

She clocked 29.62 sec to improve on the 29.67 mark she had posted in the morning heats.

Van Niekerk, who will undergo surgery on her left ankle to remove some bone that has been causing her pain for the past six years, said she was hoping to go even faster at the world championships in Melbourne in December. 

Pieter Coetzé, another star from Birmingham 2022, took the 50m freestyle in 22.28, pipping Clayton Jimmie by four-hundredths of a second, and then added the 100m backstroke title, his 51.08 being more than three seconds ahead of his nearest rival. 

Matthew Sates picked up his sixth title of the gala, winning the men’s 200m individual medley in 1 min 55.98 sec, and Rebecca Meder claimed her fourth crown, taking the women’s 200m IM in 2:10.38.

Swimming in the same gala, Minke Janse van Rensburg broke her own 50m freestyle short-course Down syndrome world record, lowering it to 34.26. The day before she captured the senior world mark in the 200m freestyle. 

In the women’s 100m backstroke, local 16-year-old Milla Drakoploulos out-touched Kerryn Herbst of Tuks to win in 1 min 00.85 sec. 

In other action Caitlin de Lange won the women’s 50m freestyle in 25.27 and Brenden Crawford took the men’s 50m breaststroke in 27.40. 

Stephanie Houtman won the women’s 400m freestyle in 4:14.19 and Andrew Ross touched first in the men’s 400m freestyle in 3:51.13. 

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Source: TimesLIVE

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