Maritzburg swimmers represent SA U20

2014-12-08 00:00

THREE swimmers and a coach from Seals Pietermaritzburg will represent South Africa at the Region V U20 African Games this week in Zimbabwe.

Local swimmers Jamie Reynolds (St John’s DSG), Chelsea Meiring (The Wykeham Collegiate) and Mark Hunter (Maritzburg College) left for Zimbabwe on Saturday and were accompanied by Seals coach Sibani Makhanya.

The three swimmers and coach have worked underneath Seals Swimming Club’s director of coaching Wayne Riddin for many seasons and are beginning to follow in his footsteps.

Riddin also represented SA in swimming as a schoolboy and was one of the South African team coaches at the 2000 and 2012 Olympic Games in addition to many Commonwealth Games. Riddin has been head coach of the local Seals club for the past 25 years.

The swimmers will be accompanied by Makhanya who grew up in KwaMashu, Durban. He learned to swim in his local pool and went on his first international trip as a coach with Swimming South Africa to Mozambique in 2012. He has also travelled twice to Zambia and most recently went to Russia with the SA swim teams in July 2013.

Makhanya is also a qualified lifeguard with Suncoast Pirates in Durban but has been coaching at Seals since September 2012.

Each of his swimmers have busy race programmes this week.

Reynolds will be racing in 13 events, with her main races being the 50 m and 100 m backstroke as well as the 50 m and 100 m freestyle. Having just completed Grade 11, Reynolds first represented SA in 2010 at a meet in Nigeria.

She was also selected for PanPacs team that travelled to Australia but opted to compete in a swim meet in Hong Kong alongside Meiring under coach Riddin. Reynolds took part in a number of sports at junior school but has shifted her focus to swimming in high school.

Meiring will compete in six events this week with her speciality also being the 50 m and 100 m freestyle events as well as the 50 breaststroke.

Also moving into matric next year, Meiring gained international experience when coach Riddin took her to Dubai and Hong Kong earlier in the year. She is also a talented runner, but hung up her running shoes to dive in the pool.

Hunter will swim in eight events in Zimbabwe with his eyes set on the 100 m and 200 m breaststroke events as well as the 200 m Individual Medley. Having just matriculated from College, Hunter first earned international team selection in January this year and went to Perth, Australia.

He hopes to earn a scholarship in the U.S. next year to pursue a professional career in swimming.

All three swimmers hope to one day compete in the Olympic Games.

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