Mandy Loots (Dolphins) claimed her fourth All Africa Games gold at the Ellis Park Aquatic Complex as sprint star Brendon Dedekind (Pietermaritzburg Seals) rocketed to victory in the 50m freestyle on Thursday.
South Africa broke four Games records, won five golds and three silvers to take their overall swimming medal tally to 45, including 25 golds. But South Africa failed to take a medal in a race for the first time -- in the men's 100m backstroke. Up to that point, South Africa had won all 19 individual events and missed only one relay gold.
Dedekind, one of the quickest off the starting blocks in the world, overcame a false start by Algerian Salim Iles for an early lead that he easily held until touching in a Games record 22.36 seconds -- his second best time on South African soil.
"I kind of expected the false start," said the 23-year-old electrical engineering student at Florida State Univeristy.
"That's why I wore my jammers (knee-length costume) and not my body suit. Because when you get out the water your muscles tighten." "I just stayed in the water as long as possible," he said, adding: "I don't think it's an advantage to anyone."
Dedekind, who won the 50m at the Pan Pacific Championships in the world's fifth-best time of 22.06 in Sydney last month, was followed home by compatriot Nicholas Folker (Pietermaritzburg Seals) (22.83), who won 100m bronze at the World Student Games three months ago. Iles, the Africa 100m freestyle record holder, was third in 23.02.
Mandy Loots (Dolphins), who marched to the pool wearing a gigantic SA flag mad-hatter creation, earned her third and fourth golds of the competition in the 200m individual medley and 4x100m medley relay. Now the 21-year-old diminutive "Gauteng flyer" is aiming to bag two more golds -- in the 200m backstroke and 100m butterfly on Friday.
"My goal at the beginning of the Games was to get six golds," said Loots, who has also won the 400m IM and 100m butterfly in record Games times. Of her hat, the normally-reserved Loots said: "It was a Christmas present from my brother. You just kind of get into the spirit of the Games."
Loots, who clocked 2:20.02, beat Zimbabwe's birthday girl Kirsty Coventry (2:23.42) and Mandy Leach (2:25.53).
In the relay, Loots, Charlene Wittstock (Seagulls), double Olympic champion Penny Heyns (Toti) and Stacey Bowley (Seagulls) won in a Games record 4:11,57. Zimbabwe was second in 4:28.96 and Egypt third in 4:48.17.
National & African record holder, Theo Verster (Kings Park) won the 200m butterfly in a Games mark of 2:04.69. Compatriot Raazik Nordien (Vineyards) (2:08.75) took silver and Fares Attar of Algeria (2:10.11) bronze.
Algerian Mehdi Addadi won the 100m backstroke in 58.28, followed by Benjamin Lo-Pinto of Seychelles (59.64) and Egyptian Haitham Hazem (59.91).Both Brett Rogers (Dolphins), 4th place and George du Rand (Bloemfontien Seals)5th place, were slightly off the pace
SA's Dennis Sirringhaus (Bloemfontien Seals) (16:17.53) and Ryno Markgraaff(Bloemfontien Seals) (16:50.96) finished one-two in the 1500m freestyle, ahead of Herbert Couacud of Mauritius (16:59.31).