Skip to content

Chance for young guns to stake claim at SA Open Water Championships

by ZwemZa on March 3rd, 2022

photo credit: Phil Craig

With both defending champions choosing not to defend their 10km swimming titles, the playing field at the SA Open Water Championships this weekend will be wide open as the young guns look to make their mark.

The prestigious event, which includes 5km and 10km races as well as 7.5 and 3km races for the younger swimmers, takes place at Marina Martinique near Jeffreys Bay from 4-6 March, with qualification for the World Championships later this year also up for grabs.

Leading the rankings in the 10km race are two 19-year-olds – Stephanie Houtman and Connor Buck – who both recently claimed victory at the aQuellé Midmar Mile. While that is a far shorter event at 1.6km, both swimmers were greatly boosted by their wins there.

“Winning Midmar was such a highlight in my swimming career and I’m so grateful for the experience,” said Houtman. “But the 10km at Jeffreys is like six consecutive miles under completely different water conditions so I’ll give it my best shot and see where I finish. It’s a very competitive field and I’m really looking forward to the race.

Buck added: “Midmar was certainly a good way to gauge my progress and it served as a way to show me that my training has been paying off. However, each race we start with a blank slate.”

Both Buck and Houtman explained that being confident in their training is vital when taking on a gruelling 5km or 10km race.

“For me, mental preparedness comes with the physical preparation. I have trust in the training I have done. Then during a race my mind is mostly clear. My focus is always on the race at hand and ensuring that I stick to my plan while maintaining my technique.”

Speaking about her mental preparation, Houtman said: “It’s all about consistently doing the mileage in the pool during the year and competing in open water events across the country where possible.”

As for what goes through her mind during the over two hours of swimming, the TUKS swimmer added: “I need to focus on my race and be aware of what the competition are doing around me. Your mind can wander when swimming 10km and I find myself sometimes singing a song in my mind or enjoying the scenery or just occupying myself with my own mind.”

Buck has set himself a clear goal for the weekend ahead. “This weekend it would be great to qualify for the World Champs and Junior Word Open Water champs. I will need to finish in the top two to achieve this.

“I feel confident going into these two races and I have full trust that the work I have done with my coach has sufficiently equipped me to swim to my potential.”

Supplied by Swimming South Africa

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Note: XHTML is allowed. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS

%d bloggers like this: