Cape Town – At 19:13 on Friday evening the South African anthem rang out for the last time around the Complexe Nautique at the African Games.
And when the ripples had flattened out in the brand-new pool Team SA could pat themselves on their bare backs for a job well done.
The team had combined superbly to bring in a total of 56 medals towards the national cause.
Twenty-four of them were gold, 19 silver and 11 bronze.
According to the sascoc website, nine of those 56 medals came on Friday’s sixth and last day of aquatics action – four gold, three silver and two bronzes.
The SA team’s total medal tally is 89 (34 gold, 32 silver and 23 bronze) with a week to go.
It was girl power that got the team’s first medal of the night, with Durban’s Rene Warnes powering to victory in the 200-metre butterfly final.
She clocked 2min 16.40sec for a comfortable win with teammate Vanessa Mohr coming sixth in 2:32.12.
‘I wasn’t really happy with my performances here,’ said Warnes who has represented SA on many an occasion. ‘I only swam two individual events, the 200m fly tonight and the 200m Individual Medley plus one relay.
“My time tonight was five seconds outside of my personal best but I haven’t tapered at all and have swum straight through,” she said.
She might not have been happy with her performance but the rest of her stay got the thumbs up. ‘The accommodation in the Athletes’ Village was great, way better than Maputo, Mozambique four years ago and there was a nice spirit in the team.’
Other golds went to Doug Erasmus in the 50m freestyle dash (22.61), Myles Brown in the 200m IM (2:01.71) and then the women’s 4×100 medley which had Jessica Ashley-Cooper, Tatjana Schoenmaker, Mohr and Karin Prinsloo in action and winning in 4:12.36.
Silvers went to Prinsloo in the 200m backstroke (2:14.31) won by the fast-turning Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe in 2:13.29, little Charlise Oberholzer in the gruelling 1500m free (17:11.34) and then the men’s 4×100 medley consisting of Ricky Ellis, Allaric Basson, Nico Meyer and Calvyn Justus doing duty to finish in 3:42.85 behind Egypt’s 3:42.55.
That was the final event of the competition after Prinsloo had won SA’s first medal (silver in the 100m free) in the first race last Sunday.
The evening’s bronze medals went to Ayrton Sweeney in the 200m IM (2:04.22) and Calvyn Justus in the 50m free (22.98).
Take your hat off to Oberholzer though. At just 16 she’s the youngest member of the team.
She’s the long-distance damsel of the women’s squad and swam the 800 and 1500m events.
On Wednesday she got silver in the 800m freestyle in 9:00.15 and was again beaten by fellow teenager, Majda Chebaraka of Algeria on Friday night.