News From South Africa
Jul 17, 1999 - Neville Smith
The highlight of the first evening of the Speedo Prestige Gala was when Carl Marais from Pretoria Aquatic Club "shaved" ,12 seconds off F du Toits' fourteen year old South African Age Group record for the Boys 14 years old 100m Butterfly event when he swam a fast 58.35. A record entry of over 600 swimmers has ensured that a high standard of competition has been evident, with a number "meet" records having fallen.
The "Sasol" South African Winter Championships (July 5 - 10) returned to Sasolburg this year and according to Mr. Gideon Sam, the President of Swimming South Africa, they will remain at this northern Free State town, 140km south of Johannesburg for the forseeable future. This will enable the organisers and sponsors Sasol ( who have recently gone into a joint venture with USA chemical gaint Chevron ) to upgrade the aging facilities and thereby ensure that world class teams are invited to participate at this venue in the future. Two "youth" teams from Australia, Victoria and Western Australia competed at this competition and swam against a South African Invitation team on the Saturday after completion of the gala. The South African team, missing most of their "better swimmers", who were either competeing overseas or preparing for the "Speedo" Prestige Gala in Durban, won convincingly and it is hoped that the teams that are invited to compete in the future will be stronger, thereby assiting in uplifting the local standards.