Pietermaritzburg - Olympian Suzaan van Biljon has bagged two gold medals on the second day of the SA Short Course Swimming Championships at the GC Jolliffe Pool in Pietermaritzburg on Friday night.
Van Biljon (25) started with a solid victory in the opening event, the women’s 50m breaststroke, winning in a respectable 31,97sec to edge ahead of the challenging juniors.
15-year-old Jamie Reynolds stole the silver medal in 32,48sec while Jolandi Els (17) who clocked 32,56sec bagged the bronze.
It was in the final individual event of the evening where Van Biljon continued to show her domination, taking the 200m breaststroke title as well in 2:29,84 – with clubmates Claire Conlon and the improving Emily Visagie taking the minor medals in 2:34,32 and 2:34,95 respectively.
"While I am still winning here at home I will continue racing,” said the South African record holder who first won a national senior title as a 14-year-old and the World Championship title in Manchester in 2008.
"I was in an unbelievable zone in that race but have not had the best training after London last year."
Neil de Villiers followed with an encouraging swim in the men’s 100m backstroke where he edged out Charl Crous by just 0,23sec, clocking a fast 53,76sec.
"There is a lot of underwater kicking in the short course competition," said De Villiers.
"But I am happy with the result and having a good race with Charl."
The women’s 100m backstroke saw just 0,41sec separating the top four swimmers with Amy Peens stealing the gold in 1:03,50 – Janneke Malan was next on 1:03,53 and Marce Loubser followed in 1:03,60.
"It was always going to be close and I knew I had to get the best turn at the end," said a smiling Peens.
Nico Meyer raced ahead to take the men’s 50m butterfly title – clocking a sound 24,17sec to edge out Reynard Wessels in 24,58sec and Wesley Morris in 25,10sec.
"I have learnt from watching Roland Schoeman that the start and turn is so important," said Meyer afterwards.
"I was hoping to break 24 seconds but I am happy with my time."
The other finals saw younger swimmers excelling in the women’s and men’s 800m freestyle events.
Carmen le Roux led from the start in the women’s race to add another title to her 1500m freestyle gold from last night. Le Roux clocked 9:02,87 to stay ahead of 13-year-old Tasmin Tennant in 9:08,01 and Bianca Hauzer in 9:10,87.
It was an improved Tristan Doyle who rose to the occasion and left the field in his wake on the second half of the men’s 800m freestyle, clocking an exciting 8:20,81 to win his first senior title at just 16 years old.
Kyle Wittstock then won the duel for second place with Josh Dannhauser by 0,08sec, clocking 8:29,20.
In the Multi-Class Disability events, it was Quinton Harris who set a new South African record in the 50m freestyle in the S4 class, clocking a 1:05,71 to lower his own mark set in Pietermaritzburg last year.
Harris further impressed the crowd when he tackled the 100m backstroke, improving on the number one ranking in the world for the S4 class by almost 26 seconds, clocking 2:30,98.
In the semi-finals events this evening, Lehesta Kemp lead the challenge in the women’s 100m freestyle with a 56,15sec swim while Luke Pendock produced a great swim in the men’s 100m freestyle for the top position in 49,48sec.
Tayla Lovemore was the best in the women’s 50m butterfly with a 28,41sec swim while Jared Pike was a clear leader in the men’s 100m breaststroke with an excellent 1:00,67.
The third day gets underway at 9.30am with the heats and the finals at 5.00pm.