2019 British C’Ships Surprise Swims Of The Day: Sophie Yendell & Kayla Van Der Merwe


On the heels of a superb outing last night by teenager Katie Goodburn of Warrender, two more young women upped the ante on junior swimming tonight at the British Swimming Championships.

Sophie Yendell came away with the bronze medal in tonight’s senior final of the women’s 50m butterfly in a time of 26.86. In an extremely tight and furious race to the wall, the 17-year-old City of Derby swimmer fell just .06 out of gold and .02 out of silver, but still came away with a very promising performance.

Yendell entered these championships seeded 4th in a time of 27.09, although her lifetime best rested at the 26.90 from the 2017 edition of these championships. Last year she won the Junior Final in 27.43 and produced a solid 27.41 this morning, sneaking into the final as the 8th seeded swimmer.

However, Yendell broke through to dip under 26.90 in her podium worthy 26.86. She is within range now of Olympian Fran Halsall’s age group record of 26.74.

The other surprise swim of the night for me came from 17-year-old Winchester swimmer Kayla Van Der Merwe. The teen took tonight’s top place in the women’s 200m breaststroke Transition Final in a time of 2:28.51, marking the first time she has been under the 2:30 barrier.

This morning, Van Der Merwe clocked a prelim time of 2:32.08 to finish 10th after the heats, but 2nd in the 17&U age group. That just nipped her lifetime best of 2:32.09 thrown down a week ago at the Guildford City Spring Meet. Prior to that, the Winchester City Penguin had clocked a time of 2:33.83 at the FFN Golden Tour Camille Muffat in Nice.

Flash forward to tonight’s Transition Final, however, and Van Der Merwe took things to an entirely new level with her 2:28.51 victorious effort to win by over a second. With this one swim, the teen all of a sudden finds herself ranked 22nd on the all-time British performers list and 6th among all-time British 17-year-old performers.

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Ben Lafferty
3 years ago

Kayla Van der Merwe is now coached by former 50 Br World Record Holder Zoe Baker

3 years ago

I’m surprised that a PB by 0.04 seconds rates as a surprise swim for anyone at any age.

Reply to  JimSwim22
3 years ago

Particularly when you had a 20 year old 200/400 IM’er, who hasnt PB’d in bloody ages, win silver in the 100bk in 54.7 off an entry time of like 57s…

About Retta Race

Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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