Double Olympic champion Penny Heyns scored an easy win in the women's 200 metres breaststroke as South Africa swept all five swimming titles for the second successive day at the All Africa Games on Sunday. Heyns, who has broken nine world records in the past two months, clocked two minutes 28.00 seconds, far outside the world record 2:23.64 she posted at the Pan Pacific championships in Sydney last month but still a Games record.
Teammate Sarah Poewe, the Pan Pacific bronze medallist, took the silver in 2:32.80, with Zimbabwean Lauren Harvey a distant bronze medallist in 2:53.17. Heyns was half a body-length ahead of Poewe when they surfaced from the dive. Poewe was two seconds behind at the 100-mark and steadily lost further ground over the remaining two lengths.
"I'm glad it's over. This was the one I was worried about because of the (high) altitude," Heyns said. "Sarah has been swimming well, so anything could have happened.
"I've been so busy with so many other things that I haven't been training with the squad and I'm way down on my taper at the moment."
Heyns, however, was delighted with the crowd of around 1000 who turned out to watch. "It's nice to see people supporting South African swimming," Heyns said. "I just hope they're glad with what they saw." Heyns will also compete in the 100 breaststroke on Wednesday.
Heyns's victory topped a perfect night for South Africa in the pool as they finished one-two in all four individual events and then cruised to an easy win in the men's 4x200 metres freestyle relay. Only one South African swimmer has failed to win a medal in the first two days of competition. There was a minor upset in the men's 100m butterfly in which African record holder Theo Verster (Kings Park) was upstaged by fellow South African Ryan Kelly (Dolphins). Kelly clocked 54.66, with Verster second in 54.75.
In the women's 200 freestyle,the Kings Park duo of Kim van Selm and Kirsten van Heerden overhauled Egypt's Rania Elwany in the second half of the race to take gold and silver in 2:05.50 and 2:06.15 respectively. Elwany faded on the last length, just as she had done in Sunday's 100 freestyle in which she also had to settle for the bronze. Elwany clocked 2:08.08. World class breastroker, Terence Parkin (Seagulls), Pan Pacific 200 metres breaststroke bronze medallist, powered away from fellow South African Adrian Bosch (RAU) (4:39.06) on the breaststroke leg of the men's 400 metres individual medley to win in 4:35.29. Third was Kenny Roberts at 4:46.26, which gave his country, the Seychelles, a bronze, its first medal at the Games which began on Thursday.
South Africa won the final Gold of the evening when Herman Louw (Linrans), James Wilcox (Vineyard), Ryno Maarkgraaf (bloemfontien Seals), and Terrance Parkin ( Seagulls) dominated from the start to win the 4X200-meter freestyle relay. Second was Algeria. Third was the Seychelles.This concluded yet another succesful night in the pool for hosts, South Africa.