Bay twins bag eight medals in Algiers
Port Elizabeth swimmers Alard and Alaric Basson were the pick of the bunch as they returned home from the 13th CANA Swimming and Open Water Championships draped in medals this week.
The competition, which took place in Algiers, Algeria, from September 10 to 16, saw the best pool and open water swimmers from across the continent descend on the North African country to do battle.
Team South Africa were the second most successful at the event, raking in 40 medals, including 12 golds, across the various disciplines, closely behind Egypt, who took home 48, including 28 gold medals.
Five swimmers from Nelson Mandela Bay Aquatics were part of the team, with three competing in pool events and two in the open water.
The Basson twins brought home eight medals between them. Though both are strong swimmers, it was Alaric who stole the show, claiming three silver and three bronze medals.
His silvers came in the 100m breaststroke, which he claimed in a new NMB Aquatics domestic and all comers record time of 1min 1.54sec, and the 4x100m freestyle relay and 4x100m medley relay.
His bronze medals came after good performances saw him claim second in the 50m breaststroke, another NMB Aquatics domestic record of 28.37, the 200m breaststroke and 4x200m freestyle relay.
Alaric’s twin brother, Alard, also claimed bronze in the 4x200m freestyle relay and 4x100m medley relay.
Speaking about his performance, Alaric said: “I am very happy with my performance taking into consideration I haven’t had much rest going into the event and I managed to swim a personal best time in the 100m breaststroke.”
Alaric said despite not having the strongest team at the event, it was still a good achievement for the swimmers to bring home medals against the best from across Africa.
“We did not have our A team there. But we cannot fault the swimmers who were there for the effort and determination they showed.”
Jade Simons took home two bronze medals in both the 50m and 100m breaststroke, the latter coming in a personal best time of 1:12.19. The 17-yearold Collegiate pupil, who was competing at senior level for the first time, said she was pleased with her result as it was not something she expected.
“I was fortunate to get the opportunity to swim with Africa’s best swimmers, with this being my first time competing at a senior championships,” she said.
“At seniors there are no age groups, so I went up against some older competitors which can only help me grow.”
Jade said her only aim was to do her best in each race and despite being disqualified in her 200m event, it was a big learning experience.
In the women’s 5km Open Water race, Amica de Jager ended seventh while Tasneen Ebrahim finished 14th.
NMB Aquatics president Michael Canter said the swimmers were all homegrown.
“As this group has developed through the various age groups they have maintained their high standards to now being able to compete at an open level. We look forward to them going even further by making an Olympic squad in the future,” he said.