South African team captain Brendon Dedekind (Pietermaritzburg Seals) snatched victory at the death to beat Algeria's Africa record-holder Salim Iles and win the men's 100m freestyle at the All Africa Games in Johannesburg on Monday.
The 23-year-old electrical engineering student at Florida State University, a 50m specialist and ranked only fourth in the 100m in South Africa, torpedoed the final five metres to touch in 50,50 seconds - his personal best for the 100m.
Iles, who set a Games record of 50.36 in the morning heats, clocked 50.58. Nicholas Folker (Pietermarizburg Seals), third at the World Student Games three months ago, claimed bronze for SA in 50.61.
But it was Minows Zimbabwe who denied South Africa a third consecutive clean sweep of swimming gold medals when comming from behind they took it in the home streach, winning the women's 4x100m freestyle relay. Dedekind, who won gold in the 50m at the Pan Pacific Championships in Sydney last month, came out of his dive in the lead, but was soon overtaken by Iles, Folker and Egyptian Mahmoud Elwani. Iles turned first, followed by Folker, Elwani and then only Dedekind, who trailed the Algerian for most of the final lap.
"I knew he was going to go out fast," said Dedekind. "Usually people ride in my wake so I rode in his wake. I moved over slightly towards his lane.
"The last 25m I was still behind so I decided to pick up my stroke rate. With 5m to go I was still a little behind so I put my head down... I was confident if I had a good finish, I'd get him." Iles, who recently changed coaches after finishing studies in Paris to move to Canberra in Australia, was disappointed. "I swam well this morning and I thought I'd do 49 seconds this evening. I just felt tired in the last 25m."
Kim van Selm and Kirsten van Heerden, the Kings Park duo, repeated their one-two feat in the women's 200m freestyle as they took gold and silver in the 400m.
The South African duet were neck-and-neck after 350m, but Van Selm found an extra bit of pace on the final lap to win in 4:26.50 with Van Heerden just behind in 4:27.04. Tunisia's Boutheina Elouer took bronze in 4:40.03. Brett Rogers (Dolphins) and George du Rand ( Bloemfontien Seals) took gold and silver for South Africa in the men's 200m backstroke, ahead of Benjamin Lo-Pinto of Seychelles in third. An overjoyed Rogers, Gold medal winner in this item at the recent "Telkom" South African Short Course Championships, said afterwrds that he was extreamly pleased to have been given the opportunity to participate and had been extreamly motivated to do well.
Rogers came in as a late replacement for Student Games Gold medalist, Simonn Thirsk who withdrew due to illness. Charlene Wittstock ( Seagulls), winner of the women's 100m freestyle, claimed her second gold of the competition as she swam to victory in the 100m backstroke in 1:04,31. Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe took silver in 1:05.29 with SouthAfrica's Taryn Ternent (Dolphins) in third place in 1:05.95.
Wittstock and Van Selm just missed taking their third gold medals as their relay team, including Stacey Bowley (Seagulls) and Candice Crafford (Seagulls), lost out to Zimbabwe. Coventry, Tanya Gurr and Mandy Leach trailed SA over the first three legs. But anchor Teresa Moody, silver medallist behind Wittstock in the 100m freestyle, caught distance swimmer Van Selm to steer Zimbabwe to a well-earned victory.