Nelson Mandela Bay’s queen of the pools, Kaylene Corbett, has taken the first step on her way to the 2018 Commonwealth Games after achieving two qualifying times earlier this month.
Having achieved qualifying times for both the 100 and 200m breaststroke events at a trial competition held at Kings Park pool in Durban, Corbett’s attention now turns to sharpening her skills in the pool.
“Although these qualification times do not mean I am 100% part of the team travelling to the Gold Coast event next year, Sascoc will only make the team announcement in January,” she said.
As the only swimmer from the Nelson Mandela Bay region to achieve the qualifying feat, Corbett, 18, hopes her times will be good enough to earn her a spot on the South African team in April.
She swam times of two minutes 29 seconds for the 200m and 1:09.57 for the 100m, finishing second in each of her events.
Her 200m time was particularly impressive as it was the first time she had swum a sub-2:30 time, while the time was also two seconds under the qualifying time.
“It was an incredible feeling to swim the time and knowing that I have improved my chances of selection when the competition comes around,” an excited Corbett said.
She has seen her swimming career take a positive turn in the last two years, having represented the green and gold three times.
“Being selected for that team in 2015 was amazing and since then I have wanted to represent my country even more and it made me work much harder.”
Corbett said the last two years had been good to her, having competed at the Youth Commonwealth Games in Samoa in 2015, where she picked up four medals.
This year saw her again put up some noteworthy performances.
She swam a B qualifying time at the Fina World Championships in Budapest in July.
Last year, she represented the country at the Fina Short Course World Championships in Canada.
In the same year she competed at the Cana African Championships in Bloemfontein. There she broke the meeting record in the 50m breaststroke while taking four medals in the process.
She also competed at provincial and national competitions, achieving a handful of medals.
The Pearson High School matriculant said it had been really tough having to juggle school and training commitments.
“Being in matric [this year] has been really tough for me because I had to train right through my final exams to be ready for trials and achieve this qualification time.”
She will take a gap year to focus on her swimming as she gets into shape for what would be another dream come true for her, if she is selected for the Commonwealth Games.
“I just want to use the talent God gave me and at the same time make myself, my parents and my country proud.”
Infinity Swimming Academy head coach David Glover said Corbett stood a very good chance of being selected to take part in the Gold Coast event.