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Van der Burgh bags second win at SA Grand Prix

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The 2015 South African Swimming Grand Prix wrapped up at the Kings Park Aquatics Centre in Durban on Sunday, once again proving that there is no shortage of local talent.
Olympic gold medalist Cameron van der Burgh completed the Grand Prix on a high note with his second win of the competition, this time in the 100-metre breaststroke final.
Van der Burgh led from start to finish and touched the wall in a time of 1min 01.79sec followed closely by Jarred Crous in 1:03.00 and Aytron Sweeney in 1:03.93.
USA’s Michael Andrew, whose parents were born and raised in Mzansi, won the 50m freestyle and came second in the 50m backstroke.
Andrew’s winning time of 23.34 in the 50m freestyle gave him his second victory of the Durban Grand Prix, while his time of 26.29 in the 50m backstroke saw the 15 year-old claim another second place finish.
Ricky Ellis took the 50m backstroke title with a time of 26.19.
Serbia’s Stjepanovic Velimir bagged his third title, winning the 200m freestyle in a time of 1:50.45 with second place going to Timothy Sates in 1:53.97 and the third to Kyle van Niekerk in 1:54.12.
Eighteen-year-old Daniel Ronaldson, who was part of Team South Africa at the African Youth Games in Botswana last year, claimed his first win of the competition in the 100m butterfly event, finishing in a time of 55.31 with Nico Meyer claiming the second spot in 55.33 and Darren Murray in third (57.11).
The 200m backstroke was lucky for winner Martin Binedell, who had an excellent Region 5 Games in Zimbabwe in December, who grabbed the top place with a time of 2:04.46 ahead of Neil de Villiers (2:07.21) and Ruan Ras (2:07.86).
The 1500m freestyle was won by 18-year-old Brent Szurdoki in 15:55.62, followed by Danie Marais (15:57.09) and Jarryd Baxter (16:13.94), with the 200m individual medley title going to Adam Stevenson in 2:08.48 ahead of Paul van Achterbergh in 2:09.39 and BF Burger in 2:11.83.
Rene Warnes added the 400m individual medley and 200m butterfly titles to her name.
Warnes was fastest in the 400m individual medley, clocking 4:51.79, over 10 seconds ahead of her competition, Megan van Wyk (5:01.97) and Erin Anderson (5:05.14).
In the 200m butterfly, 23-year-old Warnes was over five seconds ahead of Leam Strydom (2:24.77) and Caitlin Kat (2:26.26) when she topped the event in a time of 2:18.51.
The women posted some impressive times on the final day of the competition with Tatjana Schoenmaker, flag bearer for Team South Africa at the African Youth Games, also winning two races, the 50 and 200m breaststroke.
Schoenmaker sped to the finish in both events, clocking 33.08 in the 50m breaststroke and 2:32.58 in the 200m breaststroke. Kelly Gunnell came in second place in both races, with a time of 33.96 and 2:34.37 respectively.
A first and a second place finish was on the cards for Marlies Ross.
Ross claimed the top stop in the 400m freestyle with a time of 4:27.75 ahead of Jessica Whelan (4:32.98) and Samantha Randle (4:33.70) and finished the event with the second position in the 100m freestyle, clocking a time of 59.11 to Erin Gallagher’s winning time of 56.38.
The 50m butterfly final was won by Hanna McLean-Leonard in 28.78 with the second place going to Bailey Desmarais in 29.13 and the third to Camryn Wheals in 29.66, while the honours in the 100m backstroke race went to Mariella Venter (1:03.43) followed by Nathania van Niekerk (1:03.61) and Desmarais (1:06.55).
‘We are happy with the staging of the inaugural two-leg South African Swimming Grand Prix and thank Western Province Aquatics and KwaZulu Natal Aquatics for hosting the events in Stellenbosch and Durban respectively.’ said Swimming SA’s CEO, Shaun Adriaanse.
‘The introduction of these events marks a key turning point in our long term athlete development programme with the focus on providing a local high level competition for our elite senior and youth swimmers. Testament to this plan is the improved performances of our swimmers, in particular the youth, justifying the staging of the series.
‘The Grand Prix was a big success, albeit relatively low key this year and our plans are to expand the series with additional events and improved presentation, come 2016,’ concluded Adriaanse.


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