Erin Gallagher Wins Multiple Medals at South African Grand Prix


Several budding South African swimming stars got their 2019 off on the right foot, collecting multiple medals at the first of two Swimming South Africa Grand Prix meets. 16-year-old Dune Coetzee and Short Course World Championships finalist Erin Gallagher were among those who gathered in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga over the 2-day affair that wrapped up today, January 6th.

For Gallagher’s part, the versatile 20-year-old emerging star fired off the 100m freestyle win on day 1, producing a time of 56.39 to stand atop the podium. She holds her nation’s record with the 54.23 that she clocked at last year’s Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, Australia.

On day 2, Gallagher took 3 more golds, starting with the 50m freestyle, which she won in a time of 25.97 to represent the only sub-26 second swimmer of the field. She set the South African National Record in this event also at the Commonwealth Games, establishing the standard at 25.03.

Gallagher’s next victim here in Nelspruit was the 200m free, where the Coach Graham Hill-trained athlete touched in 2:04.44 in a very close battle against Rebecca Meder and the aforementioned Coetzee.

Meder finished just .09 behind Gallagher for 2free silver in 2:04.53, while Coetzee collected bronze in that spirited race, earning a time of 2:04.65.

Gallagher’s final gold on day 2 came in the 100 fly, where the Seagulls swimmer clocked 1:01.32. Coetzee was runner-up in that sprint, earning silver in 1:02.79.

But Coetzee’s spotlight shone brightly on day 1, when the teen took 3 medals across a grueling series of swims. First up was her 200m fly, where she beat the field with a gold medal-winning mark of 2;21.02. She followed up that victory with a solid 400m free win of 4:24.87, then took silver behind Gallagher in that 100m free, finishing in 59.92.

16-year-old Meder won the women’s 400m IM on day 1 in 4:50.21, while also claiming 200m breast gold in 2:35.91. In addition to finishing behind  Gallagher in the 2free on day 2, Meder secured 200m IM gold in 2:19.83.

Additional Notable Swims:

  • Doug Erasmus was victorious in the men’s 50m free, topping the podium in 23.20.
  • The men’s 100m fly saw Alard Basson win in 55.03.
  • Ayrton Sweeney earned 4 golds across the 2-day competition: 200m free (1:53.27), 200m IM (2:04.99), 400m IM (4:29.58), 200m breast (2:16.58).

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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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