Swimmers shine in Swakopmund

Stories of victory and hope shared around the swimming pool

22 September 2019 | Sports

Swakopmund • Iréne-Mari van der Walt

The Cube swimming pool in Swakopmund played host to the Namibia National Short Course Championships 2019 over the past four days, with seven clubs from Windhoek, Oranjemund and Swakopmund competing.

Windhoek’s Dolphins Swimming Club won overall, with a 1 367 point lead on their closest rivals, namely Aqua Swimming and Fitness Club, who also hail from the capital. Third place went to the Oranjemund Sand Sharks.

Thursday afternoon kicked off with the long distance heats: The 1500m freestyle items were up first followed by 200 backstroke and butterfly.

On Friday, Dolphins Swimming Club came out kicking, with their club taking gold, silver and bronze medals for the first two events. Paddy Murphy of Marlins Swimming Club stopped Dolphins’ domination when he won gold in the third event of the morning, namely the men’s 25 & over 800m freestyle.

Swakopmund swimmer Phillip Seidler who is a member of Dolphins Swimming Club, missed a Namibian parallel record with 0.32 seconds while Dentie Louw, a swimming coach for Swakopmund Swimming Club, improved his personal best from 2 and a half months ago with a whopping 6.74 seconds in the Men’s 22 – 44 year old 200m freestyle. His new record is 2:28.66.

“I was the only one taking part in the event that day, so it wasn’t big. I just like being able to improve my own record. Although 7 seconds is not much, I feel good about it since I haven’t been in the water in a while,” Louw said.

Rose Matyayi of Aqua Swimming and Fitness Club improved the Namibian record for girls 200m individual medley (IM) on Sunday morning. Her record stands at 3:12.85.

Mikah Burger joined Matyayi in breaking national records when he improved the current Namibian record for the boys 13 – 14 year 200m IM by 0.24 seconds. Burger also just missed another record, the boys 13 – 14 year 200m freestyle, by less than a second.

Another highlight was the performance by Caitlin Botha, who put a smile on everyone’s face and had her club mates cheering her on when she competed in the gala. Botha is 22 years old and has cerebral palsy, a movement disorder that includes stiff muscles, weak muscles, poor coordination and tremors. This didn’t deter Botha, as she powered to the finish line. NASU awarded her a gold medal for her efforts.

Nicky McNamara thanked IJG and the Debmarine NamDeb Foundation for their generous sponsorship on behalf of the event hosts, the Namibian Swimming Union (NASU).

“We are very happy with the championships – the swimmers performed brilliantly which was evident in the amount of records broken and personal bests attained,” she said.

She expressed her excitement for the Pupkewitz Schools Development Gala taking place at the end of October and wished swimmers the best of luck for the long course season ahead.

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