2022 SOUTH AFRICAN SC CHAMPIONSHIPS
- Thursday, August 11th – Sunday, August 14th
- Seals Swim Centre, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
- SCM (25m)
The 2022 South African Short Course Championships kicked off yesterday in Pietermaritzburg with several of the nation’s swimmers right back at it after the Commonwealth Games.
Among them was two-time Birmingham breaststroke gold medalist Lara van Niekerk, taking on her specialty stroke once again in style.
The 19-year-old punched a time of 1:04.89 to take the women’s 100m breast here at Seals Swim Centre, easily clearing the 1:06.18 minimum time qualification needed for this year’s World Short Course Championships.
For perspective, at this same meet last year, Niekerk took the national short course title in a time of 1:05.00.
On her performance this time around, the Pretoria teen said, “I just tried to not put pressure on myself in any way.
“I just wanted to come and enjoy the gala, just have a fun gala because the job has been done for now. I just wanted to come here, enjoy it, meet new people and see what I can do if I don’t put pressure on myself.”
Additionally, the national record holder stated, “We just wanted to come and qualify in the breaststroke events – well, at least the 50 and 100 which I normally swim, and then the 200 would be a bonus.
“So now that I’ve got the 100, I’m halfway there so I’m just going to enjoy each race. I’m pretty sure I’ll get the 50m qualifying time, because I think I turned under the time in the 100 so I’m looking forward to that one.”
Backstroking ace Pieter Coetze was another athlete who traveled home to race here immediately after Birmingham.
18-year-old Coetze clocked a time of 1:51.36 to make the cut in the men’s 200m backstroke for December’s Short Course World Championships in Australia.
“It’s nice to come back and do some more racing,” Coetze said post-race. “I’m definitely a bit tired after all the racing we did there [in Birmingham] and everything but it’s a lot of fun and nice to start off with a qualifying time,” he said after the race.
“I’m also doing the 50 free and 100 IM [individual medley]… I’m just keen to see where I’m at and have some fun. But it would be nice to get the qualifying times for all the backstroke events,” added the 18-year-old Olympian.