The TYR Westville Sprint Gala got off to an excellent start on Friday at the Kings Park Aquatic Complex in Durban with some excellent early season times being posted.
The traditional pre Christmas spectacle, now sponsored by swimming equipment manufactures' "TYR", has become one of the most well attended galas on the local calendar with some electrifying performances being recorded.
The event this year has been exceptionally well organized by Barend Nortje former National swimmer, with substantial prize money on offer in the "Dash for Cash".
"The TYR sponsorship has enabled us to produce a meet that swimmers will want to participate in" said a delighted Nortjie, reflecting on the excellent entry over all age groups and with swimmers from afar as Namibia attending.
While the National Youth Squad contingent was still "In Camp" in Gauteng a number of excellent performances were recorded by Junior swimmers.
Melissa Corf, 13,(Seagulls-KZN) continues progress at at alarming rate.Edged into third place by Bronwyn Dedekind (Seals-KZN)(2:27.38) in the ladies 200m Backstroke(2:27.78) in a NQT, just three seconds behind her more illustrious team mate, winner Charlene Wittstock(2:24.50) being one of the first evenings highlights.
Carl Marais,14, (PAC-NT)put in two excellent performances in the 50m Butterfly, 26.50 and 100m Freestyle, 55.49 as he continues his rich run of form. The St Albins student continues to dominate what is a highly competitive age group.
Theo Verster (Seals-KZN)(2:06.86)won the Mens 200mIM comfortably from rival Terrance Parkin (Seagulls-KZN)(2:10.73)who held off a strong challenge from upcountry visitor Grant Kritzinger(PAC-NT)(2:11.80).
Charlene Wittstock (Seagulls-KZN)(2:26.81)won the ladies item comfortably from All Africa Games team-mate, Bronwyn Dedekind (2:30.04)and Elzette Jordaan (Seals-KZN)(2:32.44).
The 200m Breastroke items produced no surprises, with Terrance Parkin again turning in a "world class" performance when he won comfortably in 2:21.98 from Namibian Derrick Langford(MarlinSC-Nam)(2:30.05) and Piter van Heerden (KingsPark-KZN)(2:35.17).
Elzette Jordaan(2:45.67)won a closely contested affair in the ladies item, winning from Kirsten Clarke (Kings Park-KZN)(2:48.64) who edged out Carrie Galtry (2:49.14) with all achieving NQT.
The mens event saw an exciting tussle between the top three swimmers who totally dominated the field. It was however sixteen year old Byron Jeffers (Kings Park-KZN)(2:10.76)who edged out National team mate Terrance Parkin (2:11.93) from Ryan Kuhlmay (Seagulls-KZN)(2:13.09) in a closely contested race for the honors.
The 50m Butterfly events saw some exciting finishes in closely contested items.
In the Mens event, Theo Verster(25,67) won comfortably, with the rest of the field contesting the minor placing. With only ,39 separating the next four swimmers, the ETD was called on to decide "who was who in the zoo !". Glen Swart(Kings Park-KZN)(26.49)out-touched team mates Chris Sparks and Kenton Kirkwood (Seals-KZN)(26.54)a "whisker" ahead of Graham MacFarlane (Kings Park-KZN)(26.88)in what was the most exciting finish of the evening.
Kirsten van Heerden (Kings Park)(30.24)made it a double for Coach Alister Hatfield when she beat a chasing pack comfortably. Seagulls team mates Lauren Sparg (30.40) and Donna Leslie (30.75) filled the minor placing.
The mens 100m Freestyle saw the top five finishers posting NQT. Kenton Kirkwood (52.47)had a comfortable win over Tim Kinsey (Seagulls-KZN) (53.25)and Terrance Parkin (53.49) with National Youth Squad member Grant Kritzinger(PAC-NT)(53.98)and Eugene Hulley (Klerksdorp-NW)(54.13)in contention.
In the ladies event, which also produced 5 NQT, Charlene Wittstock (58.52) dominated a race which was always going to be for the minor placings.Here Donna Leslie (1:00.25) edged out Kirsten van Heerden (1:00.80) from Sonja LeRoux (Queensbourogh Beavers-KZN)(1:00.84) and Thilde Victor (Brits-NT)(1:01.26).