Africa: Zane Waddell Earns Continent’s First Gold On Final Night Of Worlds


After earning one silver and three bronzes through seven days, Africa got their first gold medal of the 2019 World Championships on the final night of competition.

South African Zane Waddell topped the men’s 50 back in a time of 24.43, edging out Russians Evgeny Rylov (24.49) and Kliment Kolesnikov (24.51).

The time was a new personal best, improving on the 24.46 he swam in the semi-finals of the World University Games earlier this month. He ended up tying American Justin Ress for gold in the final in a time of 24.48.

He comes 0.09 shy of the Continental and South African National Record of 24.34, set by Gerhard Zandberg in 2009. Zandberg was the World Champion in the event back in 2007.

The 21-year-old Waddell is a rising senior at Alabama and was a key member of the Crimson Tide’s NCAA title last season in the 200 medley relay. He had the fastest backstroke split in the field by a quarter-second (20.41).

Waddell’s win gives South Africa at least one gold medal at four consecutive World Championships and also gives the continent at least one in seven of the last eight. Beginning in 2005, the only year an African didn’t make their way on the top of the podium was 2011 in Shanghai.

Also winning a medal for South Africa this year was Chad Le Clos, who earned a pair of bronzes in the men’s 100 and 200 fly, and Tatjana Schoenmaker who took silver in the women’s 200 breaststroke. That made her the first female from the country to win a medal at the LC World Championships.

In addition to those medals, Farida Osman added a fifth African medal with a second consecutive bronze in the women’s 50 fly.


1 South Africa 1 1 2 4
2 Egypt 0 0 1 1


  • Seychellois: men’s 400 IM – Simon Bachmann, 4:41.42
  • Egyptian: men’s 400 medley relay, 3:39.03

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Crimson Tide Fan

Congrats Zane, great accomplishment! Roll Tide!
Don’t forget to send Jonty a thank you Coach note.


Did not know Alabama was in Africa

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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