Rebecca Meder provided the highlight for the South African team on the opening day of the swimming competition at the World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka, Japan on Sunday.
The 20-year-old stormed to a new South African record in the 200m individual medley heats, taking almost half a second off the previous mark she set at the SA Swimming Championships in Gqeberha in April by finishing in 2:10.95.
That saw Meder qualifying 11th fastest for the evening semi-finals where she swam slightly slower, finishing in sixth place in 2:11.16 to just miss out on the final by two places.
“I was very, very happy with my swim this morning,” said Meder. “Coming in I just had to stay relaxed and stay focused. I’ve done the work but wasn’t expecting to go that time this morning.
“I didn’t underestimate that I had that time in me but to do it in the heats swim this morning was a big surprise and I landed up touching the wall and actually getting quite emotional seeing that time. It didn’t feel that fast but everything kind of fell into place and to break my SA record by just under half a second was a huge barrier for me and getting that 2:10 mark is amazing,” she added.
“You’re up against the world’s best and I have to remind myself that I’m at that calibre too so I just focused on my own swim. I knew my butterfly would be strong. I focused on my backstroke, I was very surprised at how strong my breaststroke was and then to come home on that freestyle, I just put my head down. It’s a dogfight to the end but being in the same heat as multiple Olympic champions over the years, I always find a big blessing and I am super grateful to be in this space of competing.”
As for her evening swim, Meder added: “To do a back-to-back swim like that and to do a 2:11.1 – I know it doesn’t count because I broke the SA record before … but it’s the second fastest time I’ve ever swum in the 200 individual medley, I can’t look at it and be upset and to come 10th in the world again is incredible for me. It’s all looking good for Paris 2024.”
The Durban swimmer will compete again in the 400m individual medley and the 4x100m freestyle mixed relay.
Meanwhile, 19-year-old Trinity Hearne swam her way to a personal best time in the 100m butterfly. The Cape Town swimmer won her heat in a time of 1:00.27 but was 29th overall, so missed out on a semifinal place.
Hearne was back in action with the SA x100m freestyle relay team along with Aimee Canny, Emma Chelius and Milla Drakopoulos, finishing 17th overall in the heats in a time of 3:45.54.
Other South Africans in action were Michael Houlie, who finished 30th overall in the 100m breaststroke heats in 1:01.58 and 43-year-old veteran Roland Schoeman who finished 44th overall in the 50m butterfly in a time of 24.02, some way off the SA and African record of 22.90 he set at the World Championships in Rome 14 years ago.
Swimming action continues on Monday morning with both Tatjana Schoenmaker and Lara van Niekerk kicking off their World Championships campaigns in the 100m breaststroke heats.
Source : News24