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Mauritius host successful CANA Zone IV Junior Open Water Swimming Championships

by ZwemZa on December 10th, 2017
The South African squad claimed the honors at the 1st CANA Zone IV Junior Open Water Swimming Championships in Mauritius - Facebook

The Swimming South Africa squad claimed the honors at the 1st CANA Zone IV Junior Open Water Swimming Championships in Mauritius – Facebook

The Mauritius Swimming Federation hosted the highly successful inaugural CANA Zone IV Junior Open Water Swimming Championships on 2nd and 3rd December 2017 at the picturesque Mon Choisy Beach, situated at the north of the island.

Teams from Angola and South Africa joined the hosts in what proved to be a highly competitive competition with the athletes competing in the 5km, 3km and 4 x 1,25km Mixed Relay events for CANA Zone IV bragging rights.

The competition brought together some of the regions brightest open water swimming prospects with ages ranging from 12 years old to 17 years old and was attended by the CANA Zone IV President, Mr. Jace Naidoo.

The competition which was run under FINA Open Water Swimming Rules got underway on Friday evening the 1st December when the respective teams’ management met with the local organizing committee and dignitaries for a Team Leaders meeting.

Mr. Harold Lai, President of the Mauritius Swimming Federation opened the meeting, welcoming all present before handing over to the championship Chief Referee, Mr. Neville Smith from South Africa who explained in detail the many aspects of the required protocol for a championship event of this stature. The meeting saw positive and robust interaction between all delegates, with all concluding that the championship would be managed in a professional manner.

On Saturday 2nd December at 08:30hrs 20 athletes (12male & 8 female) took to the water in ideal and calm conditions to contest the 5km race. The water temperature was a pleasant 22,6C while the air temperature would rise to a comfortable 31C during the course of the morning.

The event catered for two distinct age groups, the 14-15 year age group and the 16-17 year age group.

From the onset it was clear that the race was going to be fast with the leading athletes heading out at a frenetic pace on the 1,25km course. On completion of the first lap of four, the competitors had spread out across the course with a number of “mini battles” taking place as the athletes challenged one another for position.

Overall line honors in the men’s event went to the impressive Dante’ Nortje (17) from South Africa who dominated proceeding in posting a world class time of 58 minutes and 7 seconds to claim the title in the 16-17 year age group. Refiloe Mashoa (17) (RSA) claimed the silver (1:02,38) while Ovesh Purahoo (16) (MRI) settled for the bronze with a 1:09,24.

Boys 16-17 5km podium: (L-R) Refiloe Mashoa (RSA) Dante' Nortje (RSA) Ovesh Purahoo (MRI) - Facebook

Boys 16-17 5km podium: (L-R) Refiloe Mashoa (RSA) Dante’ Nortje (RSA) Ovesh Purahoo (MRI) – Facebook

Nortje’s compatriot Hanre’ Louw (15) was equally impressive in posting a time of 58 minutes and 5 seconds to secure victory in the 14-15 year age group. Dylan Wright (15)(RSA) settled for the silver (1:01,09) while bronze went to Ryan Kok Shun (15) (MRI) in a time of 1:02,31.

South African Abi Meder (17) swam a measured race in claiming the 16-17 year old ladies title in a time of 1:01,10 ahead of compatriot Carli Antonopoulos (16) (1:02,41). Bronze went to Layne Lim AH Tok (16) (MRI) who recorded a 1:11,02.

Girls 16-17 5km Podium: (L-R) Carli Antonopoulos (RSA) Abi Meder (RSA) Layne Lim AH Tok (MRI) Mr. Jace Naidoo (CANA Zone IV President), Mr Harold Lai (Mauritius Swimming Federation- Facebook

Girls 16-17 5km Podium: (L-R) Carli Antonopoulos (RSA) Abi Meder (RSA) Layne Lim AH Tok (MRI) Mr. Jace Naidoo (CANA Zone IV President), Mr Harold Lai (Mauritius Swimming Federation) – Facebook

Fourteen year old Trinity Hearne (RSA) showed a clean set of heels in claiming the 14-15 year old ladies old title when she swam a scintillating 1:06,52 to secure a commanding victory over the Mauritian duo of Leah Foo Sem Fah (15) (1:11,51) and Celia Glover (14) (1:14,34) who had to settle for the minor placings.

Nineteen athletes completed the event.

When asked about the standard of the venue and location, a delighted Mr. Jace Naidoo said,” Mauritius and in particular Mon Choisy was an exceptionally great venue for the 1st CANA Zone IV Junior OWS Championships. The conditions were ideal for our young crop of swimmers to further develop their skills.”

After the conclusion of the 5km event medal presentation and prize giving, the Mauritian Swimming Federation hosted a 500m and 1km recreational event which was open to the public. This proved to be extremely popular with over 50 enthusiasts participating in the 1km event while the 500m event saw 20 novice athletes take up the fun swim challenge.

A pleasant onshore breeze generating a slight chop greeted the athletes on Sunday morning for the 3km championship event. Once again the men’s and ladies race was combined.

The championship event catered for the 12-13 year age group, the 14-15 year age group and the 16-18 year old age group. Recreational swimmers were permitted to participate in this popular gateway distance for emerging open water swimmers and a total of 44 participants (21 men & 23 ladies) came under starters order at 09:00hrs.

As in the 5km event the previous day, the race got off to a frenetic pace and it was clear that the competition was again going to be keen amongst all participants as they negotiated the first of three 1km laps in crystal clear water.

The water temperature was a pleasant 23C while the air temperature would rise to a hot 35C during the course of the morning.

The addition of the 12-13 year old age group added a new dynamic to the event and it was encouraging to see a number of stellar performances coming out of this group of swimmers.

The boy’s 12-13 year old title went to Sebastian Battour (13) (CNQB) who swam well to post a time of 44 minutes 29 seconds to edge out South African hopeful Tristan Moore (12) who settled for silver in a time of 44,42. Bronze went to Loic Hendrich (12) (BBSC) who trailed in a time of 59,17.

The girls 12-13 year old title went to South African Chloe le Roux (13) who was impressive in securing the gold with a fast 39,21 ahead of her compatriot and training partner Guilma Lausberg (13) who claimed the silver in 40,38. Bronze went to Angolan Rafaela Santo (13) in a time of 51,22.

The men’s 14-15 year old race once again saw the exciting Hanre’ Louw claim line honors with rapid 35,32  ahead of Dylan Wright (RSA) who looked comfortable with a 36,00 which was good enough for the silver.

In the ladies 14-15 year old race race Trinity Hearne and her team-mate Tasneen Ebrahim (15) went head to head on a pulsating race which saw Hearne secure the title with a powerful finish over the last 400m when she recorded an impressive 38,38 to edge out a game Ebrahim who will be well satisfied with her effort of 38,57. Bronze went to Arissa Daby (15) (CNSP) in a time 49,15.

The promising South African Dante’ Nortje was once again in fine fettle when he claimed overall line honors with another impressive performance racing to a fast 34,25, well ahead of compatriot Refiloe Mashoa (37,48) who secured the silver in the 16-18 year old age group.

The ladies 16-18 year old age group saw Abi Meder produce another impressive performance “mixing it” with the boys when she won the title in a time of 36,18. Carli Antonopoulos garnered the silver with a 37,17.

“I was very impressed with the standard of the swimmers from all the countries. Considering this is a very new event for many countries it was very encouraging to see that there was only one withdrawal from the both the 5km and 3km events.” The President of CANA Zone IV, Mr. Jace Naidoo said after the conclusion of the 3km medal presentations.

A recreational 4 x 500m Mixed Relay followed the conclusion of the 3km events where 12 teams participated much to the delight of the substantial crowd that had gathered to witness the competition.

The Championship concluded with a 4 x 1,25km Mixed Relay.

The South Africa team (Wright, Louw, Hearne & Meder) won the gold in a time of 59 minutes and 54 seconds while the other South African team (Mashoa, Nortje, Antonopoulos & Ebrahim) had to settle for the silver in a time of 1:01,18. Bronze went to Mauritius (Lim AH Tock, Gruter, Foo Sam Fah & Kok Shun) who recorded a time of 1:05,58.

When asked about the positive aspects of the competition Mr. Jace Naidoo said, “I believe this event has created great interest in Open Water Swimming in the Region and the opportunities it presents for our athletes to participate in the upcoming FINA Junior World OWS Championships and Senior 5km events.  In addition there was substantial excitement from the local volunteers and coaches to grow this discipline within our region.”

South African team captain's Dante' Nortje and Abi Meder with the Overall Team Winners Trophy - Facebook

Swimming South Africa team captains Dante’ Nortje and Abi Meder with the Overall Team Winners Trophy – Facebook

The impressive South African duo of Dante’ Nortje and Abi Meder were awarded the trophies for the Best Male Athlete and Best Female Athlete respectively, while the overall team trophy was awarded to the Swimming South Africa squad.

When asked how he see’s the future of the discipline of Open Water Swimming within the CANA Zone IV Region, Mr. Naidoo enthused, “We need to build on the success of this event and ensure that the Zone IV Junior Open Water Championship becomes an annual event in the regional aquatics calendar.”

“In addition we need to explore the opportunity of initiating a regional open water series which can include some of our top emerging Open Water Athletes.”

“We need to develop the necessary coaching and technical official capacity to improve our athletes performance and effectiveness of our events. To this end, the contribution made by our Chief Referee, Mr. Neville Smith was massive as he shared a wealth of experience and knowledge with the local organizing committee and attending Federations” Mr. Naidoo concluded.

Press Release Courtesy of Swimming South Africa

 

 

 

 

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