2019 SWIMMING SOUTH AFRICA GRAND PRIX #2 – STELLENBOSCH
- Friday, February 22nd – Sunday, February 24th
- Stellenbosch, South Africa
- SwimSwam Preview
- Entries: Meet Mobile – 2019 Grand Prix Invitational Swimming Meet
Although entered in the meet as her first racing post-heart surgery in January, Danish Olympic champion Pernille Blume wound up not racing her signature 50m freestyle event. Denmark has an elite squad in South Africa attending a training camp, with the athletes also taking part in the Grand Prix #2 in Stellenbosch this weekend.
With Blume out of the mix, 20-year-old Erin Gallagher claimed the 50m free gold, registering a solid effort of 25.40. That held off Blume’s teammate Signe Bro of Denmark, who logged the only other sub-26 second time of the field in 25.76.
Gallagher owns South Africa’s national record with the 25.03 she produced at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. While competing on the Gold Coast, Gallagher made her presence known, making the finals in this and the 100m free event in new national standards across both.
At this Grand Prix, Gallagher also snagged the 100m fly gold medal, earning the top spot in 59.53. Gallagher owns a personal best of 58.93 and clocked close to that on the Gold Coast with a 59.04 in Commonwealth Games semi-finals. The fact the Seagulls swimmer is already in the 59-mid range is a good sign for speed this early in the year.
For her part, Bro scored another silver earlier in the session behind Great Britain’s Holly Hibbott in the women’s 200m free. Hibbot raced to the win in 1:59.51, while Bro was almost 2 seconds later in 2:01.39. South African teen Dune Coetzee rounded out the top 3 in 2:01.39.
National record holder Tatjana Schoenmaker, who scored South African gold at the Commonwealth Games last year, routed the women’s 100m breaststroke field in a mark of 1:07.11. Splitting 31.86/35.25, Schoenmaker enters the world rankings as the 3rd fastest performer this season, ranking ahead of the likes of Japan’s Kanako Watanabe and America’s Micah Sumrall, at least for now.
Her 1:07.11 performance ranks as the 3rd fastest of 21-year-old Schoenmaker’s career.
Additional winners on the day include Ayrton Sweeney notching gold in the men’s 400m IM in 4:21.38 and combining that with a 200m breast victory in 2:15.34. Denmark’s Viktor Bromer took the men’s 200m fy in 1:58.97 to represent the only swimmer under the 2:02 mark.