Skip to content
Sep 22 21

Ledecky to serve as volunteer swim coach at University of Florida

by ZwemZa

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Team USA swimming gold medalist Katie Ledecky is seen at the Empire State Building in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., August 12, 2021. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/File Photo

Seven-time Olympic gold medallist Katie Ledecky has decided to serve as a volunteer swim coach at the University of Florida where she will also train for the 2024 Paris Olympics, the school said on Wednesday.

The 24-year-old American will train with Florida head coach Anthony Nesty, who was an assistant for Team USA at the Tokyo Olympics where she won gold medals in both the 800 metres and 1,500 metres freestyle.

Ledecky completed her degree at Stanford University this year and, after swimming in her third Olympic Games, wanted to be closer to home and family while training for the next phase of her swimming career.

“I’m excited to be a part of the University of Florida’s world-class swimming and diving program and train for the 2024 Olympics with Coach Anthony Nesty, and the top-tier mid-distance and distance training group,” Ledecky said in a news release.

“My years at Stanford, both academically and athletically, were nothing short of incredible and I’m looking forward to the opportunity and challenges that lie ahead in Gainesville.”

Ledecky is a 10-time Olympic medallist and 15-time world championship gold medallist. She has won more gold medals in individual events than any Team USA female athlete in any sport.

In Tokyo, Ledecky won the inaugural women’s Olympic 1500m freestyle event and became the first American female swimmer to win an individual race (800m) in three straight Olympics.

Reuters

Sep 19 21

Madi Wilson tests positive for Covid in Italy

by ZwemZa

Madi Wilson (second from right) at the Tokyo Games. Picture: Tom Pennington/Getty

Australian Olympic gold medallist Madi Wilson said she was “scared” after being admitted to hospital in Italy after testing positive to Covid-19.

Australian Olympic gold medallist Madi Wilson said she was “scared” but hopeful she will be safe after being admitted to hospital in Italy after testing positive to Covid-19.

Wilson – who won her second lifetime gold medal as a member of the Australian women’s 4x100m freestyle relay in Tokyo – revealed on Sunday that she had tested positive to the coronavirus while competing at the International Swim League (ISL) in Europe.

The 27-year-old, who also won a bronze in the 4x200m freestyle relay as well as gold and silver medals at Rio in 2016, has been double vaccinated and said she was feeling fine but had been removed from her team and taken to an Italian hospital as a precaution.

“I am extremely disappointed and upset not to be racing along side my teammates in match 8 here in the ISL,” she said on her Instagram account.

“I recently tested positive for Covid and yesterday was moved into hospital for further care and observation

“Even though I am double vaccinated and took the right precaution set in place through the ISL, I have managed to fall to this virus.

“It’s been a crazy few months and I believe being run down physically and mentally may have made me more susceptible.”

Wilson was a key member of the Australian swim team that won a record nine gold medals at the Tokyo Olympics.

Wilson was a key member of the Australian swim team that won a record nine gold medals at the Tokyo Olympics.

They all came home cleared of the virus after being in a super-tight biosecurity bubble during the Games then while in quarantine.

But more than a dozen of Australia’s top swimmers, including Emma McKeon and Kyle Chalmers, have since travelled to Europe to compete in the ISL, the rebel breakaway professional league.

Queensland born but based in South Australia, Wilson competes in the lucrative ISL for the Los Angeles team – which includes fellow Aussie Olympians Bronte Campbell and Matt Wilson.

She admitted she was frightened after being told she tested positive but sent a text message to News Corp saying she was feeling OK and wanted to thank everyone who has expressed concern about her health.

“I feel extremely unlucky but I do believe this is a huge wake up call,” she said.

“Covid is a serious thing and when it comes it hits very hard. I’d be stupid not to say I wasn’t scared. I’m so lucky for all my family, friends and support people. I can’t believe how much love I have been shown and I’m forever in debt to these people.

“Special thanks to my incredible LA family, you haven’t and won’t ever see a team with a bigger heart than theirs, away from the pool the most incredible compassionate group of people and in the pool we are fighting with every bit of strength. I can promise we will be ready to fire come semifinals!

“I’m taking some time to rest and I’m sure I’ll be ready to bounce back in no time.”

Julian Linden | The Courier Mail

Sep 19 21

Meder and Sates claim 16 titles between them at SA Short Course champs

by ZwemZa

Matt Sates (Supplied)

Matt Sates finished with 10 individual gold medals while Rebecca Meder claimed her sixth on the final day of the SA Short Course Championships on Sunday.

Meder powered to victory in the 400m individual medley in a time of 4:36.79 to also complete her trio of A qualification times for the World Short Course Championships in December in all the medley events.

“I enjoyed it, but it burned a heck of a lot,” she admitted afterwards. “My best before this was a 4:37 so this is a PB [personal best]. As a 200IM swimmer, I’m supposed to be doing the 400IM so I’m glad I’m back. I’m done and dusted now on a big bang so I’m happy.

16-year-old Dakota Tucker finished second with a B qualifying time of 4:43.06.

Sates took the first of his three titles on Sunday in the men’s 400m individual medley. His impressive 4:07.93 was over a second under the A qualifying time for the World Championships.

“I wasn’t really expecting to go that fast especially because I didn’t push that hard in the other strokes – I was just holding on for the free,” he said after the race.

“I think I can go quite a bit faster if I really have my mind focused on it.”

Second-placed Ruan Ras (4:15.95) and third-placed Danté Nortjé (4:16.07) both dipped under the B qualifying mark.

Lara van Niekerk completed her breaststroke clean sweep by claiming victory in the 100m event in 1:05.00. That was her third A qualifying time, which will see her competing in all three breaststroke events at the World Short Course Championships in Abu Dhabi.

“I was hoping to go 1:04 but I can’t complain with 1:05.00 – I’m happy… I’m very excited [about the World Short Course Championships]. It’s going to be my first senior international meet so I’m really looking forward to it,” added the 18-year-old.

Second-placed Emily Visage claimed another B qualifying time after finishing in 1:08.43.

Meanwhile, Sates and Pieter Coetzé once again went head-to-head, this time in the final of the 50m freestyle. Having dueled each other over the distance in various relays over the last few days, the tally stood 2-1 in Coetzé’s favour, but Sates made sure to level matters with victory in the individual event, with both teenagers dipping under 22 seconds – Sates in 21.96 with Coetzé second in 21.99. Both swimmers, and third-placed Guy Brooks (22.01) were under the B qualifying mark.

“We’ll have to do a tie-breaker,” reckoned Coetzé afterwards with a laugh.

“Me and Pieter always enjoy racing against each other, and it makes it a bit more interesting for everyone to watch,” added Sates, who later added the 100m breaststroke title to his haul of 10 golds. Having not swum the event in two years, he dipped under the one-minute mark for the first time, claiming victory in a B qualifying time of 59.11.

Pretoria swimmer Caitlin de Lange took the women’s 50m freestyle title, and as she did in the morning heats, dipped under the World Championships B qualifying time, touching in 25.32.

Visually impaired swimmer Cornell Leach used the final day of competition to break several more national records, this time in the S12 100m freestyle and the SM12 200m individual medley.

Minke Janse van Rensburg also claimed two more junior world records for Down syndrome swimmers – in the 25m and 100m freestyle.

Swimmers who have achieved World Short Course Championships A qualifying times at this event:

Pieter Coetzé: 50, 100m & 200m backstroke, 100m individual medley

Rebecca Meder: 100m, 200m & 400m individual medley

Matt Sates: 100m, 200m & 400m freestyle, 100m butterfly, 400m individual medley

Lara van Niekerk: 50m, 100m & 200m breaststroke

Supplied by Swimming South Africa

Sep 19 21

Documents show US investigation of 2 Kuwaitis in FIFA case

by ZwemZa

FILE – In this file photo dated Sunday, Jan. 31, 2016, First Vice President of the International Swimming Federation, FINA, Husain Al Musallam, during the FINA World Aquatics Gala in Budapest, Hungary. Documents obtained by The Associated Press show two senior Olympic officials from Kuwait have been targeted by the U.S. Department of Justice for suspected racketeering and bribery related to FIFA and international soccer politics. Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah is reputed to be the “kingmaker” of IOC elections. Husain al-Musallam is president of swimming’s international governing body. The documents include details of the DOJ investigation and a formal request to Kuwaiti authorities in 2017 for help to secure evidence. (Attila Kovacs/MTI via AP, File)

Two senior Olympic officials from Kuwait, one reputed to be the “kingmaker” of IOC elections and another who is president of swimming’s international governing body, have been targeted by the U.S. Department of Justice for suspected racketeering and bribery related to FIFA and international soccer politics, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.

The U.S. embassy in Kuwait made a formal request to local authorities in 2017 for assistance to secure evidence including records of multiple bank accounts held in the Gulf state, according to one document.

The request included a document dated June 7, 2017, titled: “Request for assistance in the investigation of Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah, Husain al-Musallam, Reza Charim, Vahid Kardany and others.”

The documents confirm that Sheikh Ahmad is under investigation and provide insight into the U.S. government’s probe of high-level foreign officials as part of the broad FIFA investigation that began more than a decade ago.

The sheikh is an influential powerbroker in Olympic circles who was a key ally behind Thomas Bach’s successful run to the IOC presidency in 2013. The long-time IOC member is president of the group of national Olympic bodies known as ANOC and a former member of the FIFA executive committee.

“I asked Kuwait to give them everything,” Sheikh Ahmad told the AP this week about the American request. “I have nothing to hide.”

Al-Musallam, a close ally of the sheikh, took over as president of swimming governing body FINA in June and for the last 16 years has been the Olympic Council of Asia’s director general. Sheikh Ahmad has been president of the OCA since 1991.

At the Tokyo Olympics in July, al-Musallam told the AP he had done nothing wrong and was never questioned about the case by American authorities.

FINA did not immediately comment on the case on Thursday while the IOC declined to do so.

Sheikh Ahmad is also currently standing trial in Geneva on an unconnected matter in a dispute between political factions in Kuwait’s royal family. He has denied wrongdoing and said that case is politically motivated.

The 58-year-old sheikh has been seen as a potential future Emir of the oil-rich kingdom, a status that fueled rivalry.

After the indictment in Geneva was revealed three years ago, Sheikh Ahmad agreed to step aside temporarily from the IOC and presidency of ANOC. He continues to lead the OCA and have influence in Asian soccer elections.

The DOJ document seen by the AP details payments totaling about $1 million from Kuwait — wired from personal accounts held by three of the men and Olympic organizations run by the sheikh — to a FIFA official from Guam. That man, U.S. citizen Richard Lai, admitted to financial conspiracy charges in federal court in April 2017 and agreed to pay $1.1 million in penalties. He has yet to be sentenced.

The sheikh and al-Musallam could be identified as co-conspirators in 2017 from federal court documents in that case. Lai admitted to taking bribes from a Kuwaiti faction that wanted to buy influence and votes in Asian and world soccer.

Since 2013, Sheikh Ahmad and his allies have run the Asian Football Confederation. They control most of the soccer body’s 46 votes at FIFA’s annual meeting of 211 members, and can place people on FIFA committees.

Sheikh Ahmad and al-Musallam have denied wrongdoing in the FIFA case, were never indicted and continued their Olympic work despite being implicated in paying bribes. U.S. authorities made no further comment and it has been unclear how active the investigation was.

“As a matter of policy, the Justice Department does not publicly comment on mutual legal assistance requests to and from our partner countries, including confirming or denying the very existence of such requests,” Justice Department spokesperson Nicole Navas Oxman said in a statement to the AP.

Last week, the DOJ restated its commitment to its wider FIFA investigation when it announced paying tens of millions of dollars in money forfeited and seized from corrupt soccer officials back into FIFA’s control as restitution.

“Our work isn’t finished,” Michael J. Driscoll of the FBI’s New York Field Office said in a statement last week, “and our promise to those who love the game — we won’t give up until everyone sees justice for what they’ve done.”

The documents seen by the AP show that within weeks of Lai’s guilty pleas, the DOJ drafted a formal approach to the “Central Authority of the State of Kuwait” to help get potential evidence.

It stated federal prosecutors in New York are investigating if the named men and others “have violated United States criminal laws by making, accepting, and/or facilitating bribes, kickbacks and other types of illicit payments to (FIFA officials) and laundering such bribe payments and proceeds, conduct which also constitutes racketeering.”

It reveals that an ANOC account, at the Alahli Bank, was used to wire two payments of $50,000 each in 2015. Lai had said in court he received money from personal accounts and the OCA.

The DOJ document was to be presented to Kuwaiti authorities by the U.S. Embassy in the country.

The formal request for legal assistance from the embassy, dated Sept. 27, 2017, and also seen by the AP, was to be sent to Kuwait’s ministry of foreign affairs for passing on to the attorney general.

American prosecutors told their Kuwaiti counterparts they wanted to establish if the suspects made other payments to Lai, or if their accounts were used to wire possible bribe payments to other soccer officials.

They requested documents dating from 2009, including details of accounts, safe deposit boxes, wire transfers, due diligence reports, currency transactions, emails and internal bank communications “concerning media reports discussing any of the above accountholders.”

American prosecutors said copies should be authenticated by “appropriate custodians” from the banks knowing that false statements “would subject the maker to criminal penalties under the laws of Kuwait.”

The two other men identified in the documents, Kardany and Charim, who are both Iranian, were assistants to al-Musallam at the Kuwait-based Olympic Council of Asia.

Kardany later joined the governing body of Asian soccer, the Malaysia-based AFC, where he is now deputy general secretary.

The DOJ document details that an account in Kardany’s name at Alahli Bank wired $50,000 to Lai in October 2013 and $95,000 in May 2014. An account in Kardany’s name at Gulf Bank wired 43,679 euros ($51,500) in May 2015.

___

Associated Press writer Michael Balsamo in Washington contributed to this report.

The Associated Press

Sep 18 21

Speedy Sates adds trio of golds to short course haul

by ZwemZa

Rebecca Meder (Supplied)

Local swimmer Matt Sates added three more golds to his considerable haul on the penultimate day of the SA Short Course Championships.

First up was the 100m freestyle where he powered to victory in a time of 47.14 seconds, which also saw him claiming another A qualifying time for the World Short Course Championships in Abu Dhabi this December.

Guy Brooks was second in a B qualifying time of 48.53 – slightly slower than his time in the morning heat.

“I’m happy with that… I’m not really swimming for times, I’m just seeing how hard I can push myself,” said Sates afterwards.

Next up for the 18-year-old was the 50m butterfly, where he was once again going up against Pretoria rival and fellow Olympian Pieter Coetzé. Sates touched in 23.27 to take the title, with Coetzé second in 23.83 – although he was keen to race again after a blunder at the turn.

“It’s always fun racing the other events [apart from backstroke]. I had a bit of a slip on my turn in the fly so it would be nice to have a rematch,” he said with a smile.

The 17-year-old was later in action in a 200m backstroke time trial (as he was initially not entered into the individual event) which he finished in 1:51.40 to claim his fourth A qualifying time of the meet.

Meanwhile, Sates later added the 200m individual medley to his considerable collection of titles, claiming victory in 1:55.43 and just missing the A qualifying time for the World Championships by .18 of a second.

“That was a tough one. I hurt a lot on that race, it wasn’t the best, I think I missed my strokes a little bit, but it was all good. Hopefully I’ll go a bit faster in a couple of weeks,” he said afterwards.

Making her mark in the women’s 200m individual medley was Rebecca Meder. The 19-year-old claimed another victory in 2:10.63 – her second A qualifying time of the Championships.

“I’m happy with that. My PB is a 2:09 from last year but I can be stoked with a 2:10, especially after swimming the 100 free just under an hour ago,” said Meder, who has also qualified in the 100m individual medley. “I’m pretty happy with that. It’s an A qualifying time so I can’t be disappointed.”

Second-placed finisher in the 200m IM Dakota Tucker (2:14.24) and third-placed Emily Visagie (2:14.79) also dipped under the B qualifying times.

Meder had earlier achieved a B qualifier in the 100m freestyle, winning in a time of 54.87 seconds.

“It’s nice to see that I can do some fast times short course… when you’re having fun, a happy swimmer is a fast swimmer and I’m enjoying it,” she said.

Also bagging a B qualifier was Cape Town swimmer Hannah Pearse who was thrilled with her performance in winning the 200m backstroke title in 2:10.27.

“I knew my front-end speed was going to be there, so I just knew I had to believe in myself in the last 100 and just hang on. I’m so surprised,” said Pearse after the race.

Minke Janse van Rensburg was once again in record-breaking form in the 50m freestyle. Her time of 33.87 second in the evening final was even quicker than the new junior world record for swimmers with Down syndrome that she swam in the morning heats.

Cornelle Leach was also in sensational form, adding SA records in the SB12 100m breaststroke (1:25.36) and S12 50m freestyle (30.78) to the two other national marks she’s already set at this meet.

“Honestly I didn’t have much ambition. I didn’t make the Paralympic team and I worked really hard for it, but at this competition I just proved to myself that I am worth it and I’m definitely going for the next Paralympics,” she said. “I also swam a few unofficial qualifying times for the World Championships next year so I’m pretty excited – I’m back in the game and where I should be.”

Swimmers who have achieved World Short Course Championships A qualifying times at this event so far:

Pieter Coetzé: 50, 100m & 200m backstroke, 100m individual medley

Rebecca Meder: 100m & 200m individual medley

Matt Sates: 100m, 200m & 400m freestyle, 100m butterfly

Lara van Niekerk: 50m & 200m breaststroke

Supplied by Swimming South Africa

Sep 18 21

Champion coach Dean Boxall vows ‘revenge’ for Shayna Jack

by ZwemZa

Shayna Jack is back. Photo Supplied Instagram

The path is clear for Shayna Jack to target the Paris 2024 Olympic Games after her doping case was finally dismissed.

Jack’s was cleared to return to swimming after the World Anti-Doping Agency and Sports Integrity Australia appeal was dismissed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport earlier in the week.

Jack was slammed with a four-year suspension before the 2019 World Championship after she tested positive to banned substance Ligandrol.

The swimming star pleaded her innocence throughout the process, including pointing to various ways the substance could have got into her system, particularly in such trace amounts.

But she had her ban cut in half last year, only for WADA and SIA to appeal the ban reduction.

In an Australian Story episode on her case earlier in the year, Cate Campbell revealed how hard the ban had hit Jack.

“She said, ‘Cate, I’m so lucky that I’m not the type of person who particularly cares what people say about me, because if I did, I wouldn’t be alive right now’,” Campbell revealed.

On Thursday, when the case was finally dismissed, Jack took to Instagram to express her relief that her two-year, three-month “nightmare is finally over”.

“I am now free to do what I love with no restrictions and am so overwhelmed with joy. I am now going to take some time to myself to cherish this moment and reflect on what I have endured. The nightmare is finally over,” she wrote.

“Thank you to everyone who has stood by me, supported me and help me overcome this challenge.

“I will speak more in the future, now is not the time … But watch this space, it’s only the beginning.”

But throughout the process, Jack has clearly had a burning desire to get back into competitive swimming.

At just 22-years of age, Jack still has plenty she can do in her career going forward.

That is according to her coach and the mastermind behind Ariarne Titmus’ stunning Tokyo Olympics campaign Dean Boxall.

Boxall, who has been overseeing Jack’s return at the St Peters Club in Brisbane, has sent a warning to the world with her 27-month ordeal igniting a fire for the star to succeed.

“She’s hungrier, she’s a lot more determined,” he told SMH. “She’s thick-skinned, she has good body armour on her now. There were just so many delays but when I spoke with her (Thursday), it was a different girl at the end of the phone.

“She’s certainly better than she was two years ago. How good can she be? I don’t know. We just don’t know. When she was younger, she was just a prodigy, she looked like the real deal. Now we get a wiser, stronger, determined Shayna, a girl that is fearless. She wants some revenge in the pool.”

Sounds like a warning for the rest of the world.

With the likes of Cate and Bronte Campbell seemingly heading towards the end of their competitive swimming career, the door is seemingly ajar for Jack.

However there is plenty of competition with 100m Olympic champion Emma McKeon, Jack’s clubmates Meg Harris and Mollie O’Callaghan as well as Madison Wilson all taking part in the world record-breaking 4x100m win in Tokyo.

Jack has previously competed in the 50m, 100m and 200m freestyle in international competitions, with the later potentially pitting her against Olympic champ Titmus.

Andrew McMurty | News.com.au

Sep 17 21

Sates and Coetzé’s rivalry heats up on third day of SA Short Course Championships

by ZwemZa

Pieter Coetze (Supplied)

Two of the youngest swimmers on South Africa’s Olympic team to Tokyo, Pieter Coetzé and Matt Sates, continued to fire up the competition on day three of the SA Short Course Championships in Pietermaritzburg.

18-year-old Sates picked up another national title in the 400m freestyle, cruising to victory over nine and a half seconds ahead of second-placed Danté Nortjé. The Maritzburg swimmer’s time of 3:41.02 also saw him securing another A qualifying time for the World Short Course Championships in December, while Nortjé’s time of 3:50.63 was a B qualifier.

17-year-old Coetzé then put up a dominant performance in the 50m backstroke, powering to victory in his third world championships qualifying time of 23.42 seconds.

The talented teenagers then went head-to-head in the 100m butterfly and it was Sates who prevailed, taking the title in an A qualifying time of 50.61, well ahead of Coetzé who was second in 52.45 (a B qualifier).

“It was a good race, a little bit slow overall but I swam the 400 freestyle before so I was a little tired,” said Sates afterwards. “But this was one of the races we were swimming against each other and we’ve got the 50 free after this, head-to-head, and that’s going to be a tight one,” the Maritzburg swimmer added of his rivalry with Coetzé, who was gracious in defeat.

“He’s a butterflier so I wasn’t really expecting to beat him in that one, but I really enjoyed it,” he said after the showdown. “My 50 backstroke was a bit close to this race, way closer than his 400 free but we’re very good friends and I like the banter we have when we race. I really enjoy racing him.

“It’s definitely pushed me and makes it more enjoyable. It also makes the sport more competitive.”

Speaking about his earlier victory and qualification in the 50m backstroke, Coetzé added: “I’m very happy with that. I got it [the A qualifying time] by about .3 which is a very good margin on a 50 so I think that time was pretty competitive in the world. I’m happy to get the 100 and 50 double on the backstroke. That was the important part for me at this gala so the rest of it will just be a fun, chilled one for me.”

Meanwhile, fresh from breaking Olympic champion Tatjana Schoenmaker’s national record in the 50m breaststroke on Thursday, Lara van Niekerk was once again in fine form in the 200m event. She claimed her gold in a time of 2:23.65 which saw her once again dipping under the A qualifying mark for the World Championships.

“I didn’t really expect to qualify in the 200 because I’m more a 50 and 100 swimmer but I’m happy that I qualified. It just shows that the fitness is there, the speed is there, the endurance, everything is just right. The 100 is still on Sunday so I am hoping to qualify there as well,” she said.

Second-placed Emily Visagie finished in a B qualifying time of 2:27.86 while 16-year-old Kian Keylock claimed the men’s 200m breaststroke title, finishing dead on the B qualifying time of 2:10.65.

The women’s 100m butterfly was won by Durban’s Rebecca Meder. The 19-year-old finished in a time of 58.62 with Veronique Rossouw in second in 59.87 – both under the world championships B qualifying time.

B qualifiers may be considered if no swimmers achieve the A time in a particular event.

Earlier in the day, Minke Janse van Rensburg broke a junior world record for swimmers with Down syndrome. The 16-year-old star set the new DSISO (Down Syndrome International Swimming Organisation) mark of 24.61 seconds in the 25m breaststroke.

Swimmers who have achieved A qualifying times at this event so far:

Pieter Coetzé: 50 & 100m backstroke, 100m individual medley

Rebecca Meder: 100m individual medley

Matt Sates: 200m & 400m freestyle, 100m butterfly

Lara van Niekerk: 50m & 200m breaststroke

Supplied by Swimming South Africa

Sep 16 21

Van Niekerk breaks Schoenmaker record to earn world champs spot

by ZwemZa

Lara van Niekerk (Supplied)

Lara van Niekerk emerged as the star on day two of the SA Short Course Championships in Pietermaritzburg. The 18-year-old broke Olympic champion Tatjana Schoenmaker’s South African record in the heats of the 50m breaststroke and then went even faster in the final.

In the morning session, Van Niekerk touched the wall in 30.06 seconds to not only better the SA mark but also the African record set by Kenya’s Achieng Ajulu-Bushell in 2009 and then swam a blistering 29.85 in the final to shatter her own record. That also saw the Pretoria swimmer achieving the A qualifying time for the World Short Course Championships in Abu Dhabi this December. Caitlin de Lange finished second in a B qualifying time of 31.23.

“We were just trying to break the 30-second barrier but I didn’t expect to break it by this much so I’m very surprised and super-happy,” said Van Niekerk afterwards.

Speaking about the inspiration Schoenmaker has been with her world record-breaking exploits in Tokyo, Van Niekerk said: “She’s such a big role model of mine. I’ve looked up to her since I was small, always swimming against her. I’ve always wanted to be like her, she’s just amazing.

As for breaking one of her role model’s national records, she added: “I’m very happy. I’ve always loved the 50 and I know the 50 isn’t her strong suit – she’s more the 200 and 100 but I don’t have words to be honest.”

Rebecca Meder was also in record-breaking form in the evening session. The 19-year-old claimed back the SA record from rival Aimee Canny in the 100m individual medley, winning in a time of 1:00.00.

“It’s quite a funny story, Aimee and I swam last year and we both went under the South African record but she won so she claimed it, so I was really trying to get it back,” said Meder. “I’m stoked for that but I was eyeing out a 59.7, which is Kirsty Coventry’s African record, but it was a massive PB for me – almost half a second on a 100m which is amazing.”

Second placed Van Niekerk (1:01.84) who was back in the pool after her breaststroke record, third-placed Emily Visagie (1:03.04) and fourth-placed Caitlin de Lange (1:03.31) all finished with B qualifying times.

Meder had earlier also achieved a B qualifying time in the 200m freestyle, taking the title in 1:58.07.

Meanwhile Matt Sates’s quest for 12 gold medals at the event, hit a bit of a hiccup after a disqualification in the 100m individual medley heats.

He did secure his second gold of the event in the 200m freestyle though, taking victory in 1:42.91, an A qualifying time for the World Championships.

Guy Brooks finished second with a B qualifying time of 1:45.73.

17-year-old Olympian Pieter Coetzé made the most of Sates’s absence, claiming the 100IM title in 53.50 to add to the 100m backstroke crown he claimed earlier in the evening in 50.98 seconds. Both times were below the world championship A qualifying time.

“Short course is all about underwaters, especially in the backstroke so I was just trying to utilise that, and it all came together pretty nicely,” said Coetzé.

Asked who his biggest rival at the championships is, he added: “100 per cent Matthew Sates. I like going back and forth with him… it’s good competitiveness and I’m excited to see how the rest of the gala plays out.”

Earlier, Dakota Tucker produced a B qualifying time in the 200m butterfly, winning in a time of 2:12.55, while Ross Hartigan did the same in the men’s event, taking the title in 1:58.06.

Supplied by Swimming South Africa

Sep 16 21

Ocean Racing Series returns next month

by ZwemZa

Africa’s largest family beach event, the aQuellé Khula Ocean Racing Series, returns to Hobie Beach on Sunday 3rd October for the start of it’s 17th Season in Nelson Mandela Bay.

The Series has become a local family favourite with no fewer than 7 events taking place on each of the 10 race days offered throughout the Season which takes place on mostly alternate Sunday mornings through to March 2022. The Series, which is unique to Nelson Mandela Bay, includes a 5km Beach Run, 5km Beach Walk, Kids 1km Beach Run/Walk for children 12 years and under and 4 open water swimming races (400m, 1km, 2km and 3km distances) – ensuring something for everyone in the family.

Each race day fantastic lucky draw prizes from not only aQuellé but a host of local companies will round off the ideal Sunday morning outing to the beach. This Season the Khula Kids (those 12 and under taking part in the Beach Run/Walk) will receive sticker packs after each race day to create and design their own Conservation board with the boards voted as the best decorated at the end of the Season winning amazing prizes from Raggy Charters, South Africa’s leading Marine Eco Tour Company offering Whale Watching and Shark Cage Diving in Nelson Mandela Bay.

Series membership starts at only R50 for the Season with the Premier membership packages on offer at R1000 (swim events) and R500 (beach events). Everyone signing up before the 28th September will receive amazing race packs valued at up to 3 times their registration fee.

Online registration is available from www.zsports.co.za website

Supplied by Zsports

Sep 16 21

Former Sports Minister and Chef de Mission convicted of embezzlement in Kenyan Rio 2016 scandal

by ZwemZa

Former Kenyan Sports Minister Hassan Wario has been found guilty of embezzlement in the Rio 2016 scandal ©Getty Images

Former Sports Minister Hassan Wario and Kenya’s Chef de Mission for Rio 2016 Stephen arap Soi have been convicted of corruption after a court in Nairobi found them guilty of embezzling funds during the Olympic Games in the Brazilian city.

Wario and Soi, two of the six officials charged with misappropriation and abuse of office in the financial scandal involving the Kenyan delegation at the Games, are set to be sentenced later today.

The other four – former National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) secretary general Francis Paul Kanyili, then Kenya’s director of administration Harun Komen, former finance officer at the country’s Ministry of Sports, Culture and the Arts Patrick Kimathi, and former sports principal secretary Richard Ekai – were all acquitted.

Wario, Kenya’s Ambassador to Austria at the time of his arrest in 2018, and Soi were found to have misappropriated a total of Ksh55 million (£362,000/$500,000/€424,000).

Nairobi chief magistrate Elizabeth Juma found Wario guilty of abuse of office and misuse of public funds and ordered he be taken into custody along with Soi.

Prosecutors had claimed those in charge of the Kenyan team at the 2016 Olympics allowed unauthorised people to travel to Rio 2016, purchased air tickets that were not utilised and overpaid allowances.

It followed the country’s Olympic Games Probe Committee revealing that the Sports Ministry had signed a ticketing deal with a Kenyan-based travel agency to offer tickets at a higher price than usual.

The six officials stood accused of buying air tickets that were not utilised amounting to Ksh16.9 million (£111,000/$154,000/€130,000), overpaying allowances amounting to Ksh15.9 million (£104,000/$144,000/€123,000) and incurring expenditure on unauthorised persons amounting to Ksh6.6 million (£43,000/$60,000/€51,000).

Double Olympic gold medallist and former NOCK chairman Kipchoge Keino was among the key witnesses for the prosecution.

The legendary athlete had also faced charges of abuse of office and willful failure to comply with laws relating to public funds management before they were dropped in 2018 after it was discovered the honorary International Olympic Committee member was never a signatory to any account and did not receive any money.

Keino was the first recipient of the Olympic Laurel, which he was awarded at the Rio 2016 Opening Ceremony.

Waithaka Kioni, Kenya’s Chef de Mission for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, promised before the event that every coin used for the Games in the Japanese capital would be accounted for to avoid any risk of a repeat of the corruption scandal that marred Rio 2016.

Liam Morgan | Inside the Games

%d bloggers like this: