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Sport
Le Clos misses out due to admin mix-up
The 2020 Swim South Africa (SSA) Grand Prix gala was held in Stellenbosch over the weekend. Some of the best swimmers in the country were involved, including Chad le Clos (pictured). The meet was a qualifier for the Olympics and Paralympics. Erin Gallagher and various international swimmers, including the Hungarian swimming team, participated in the gala. Photos: Thys Lombard

The Stellenbosch Grand Prix hosted at the Coetzenburg 50 m Olympic pool once again not only attracted an international team from Hungary, but concentrated the swimming talent from all over South Africa in preparation for the Olympic and Paralympic trials in April.

The Grand Prix was an Olympic and Paralympic qualifying event sanctioned by FINA, the world swimming body.

Besides the Olympic hopefuls from Hungary a number of top South African swimmers among them Chad le Clos and Erin Gallagher were in Stellenbosch to test their steel. Le Clos was victorious in the 100 m freestyle and 50 m butterfly.

Due to an incorrect start time publication he unfortunately missed his final in the 200 m butterfly, the event he was crowned Olympic champion in, during the 2012 London Olympics.

The 16-year-old up-and-coming star from Cape Town Ethan du Preez, who swam an incredible race to win in a time faster than Le Clos, was able to swim in the heats of the event. This show-down would have been enthralling were it not for organisational failure.

The best of local talent, para swimmer Christiaan Sadie managed to swim paralympic qualifying times in the 50 m free style and 50 m butterfly.

Sadie is hoping to build on his successes at the Commonwealth games (silver medal) and Para World Champs to be competitive in the medal race in Tokyo.

Seventeen year old Righardt Muller finished second in the 400 m free style behind the Olympian Brent Zudokic.

The only medallist from a Stellenbosch Matie Jjnior club was the 17-year-old Righardt Muller, who finished second in the 400 m free style, behind the Olympian Brent Zudoki.

Earlier in the year he, with his coach Pierre de Roubaix, followed in the footsteps of local Olympian Heerden Herman to compete at the junior world championships in Hungary.

De Roubaix also had some young swimmers from Bloemhof and Paul Roos making finals among them, Petrus Truter (6th 400 IM), Ruard van Reenen (4th 100 back), Benno van der Merwe, and Abigail Calitz. Hannah Nielson coached by Cedric Finch also made finals.

The best finishers among Matie students were Anandt van Rensburg, who finished sixth in the 50 breast, and Courtney van Biljon, who finished seventh in the 100 m butterfly.

The next Grand Prix event is being held in Durban later in February, and then all the swimmers will be settling down to some focused training in anticipation for the Olympic and Paralympic trials to be held in Durban in April.

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