BRISBANE – South Africa rounded off a hugely successful campaign in the pool by adding another two medals to their total on Tuesday night at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
That took their combined total in the pool to 12, after Chad le Clos had won four individual medals, Tatjana Schoenmaker had claimed two golds, Cameron van der Burgh a gold and bronze and a medal each for Ryan Coetzee, Christian Sadie and Brad Tandy. Le Clos and Van der Burgh were also part of the relay team which took bronze in closing off the swimming programme at these Games.
During the week Le Clos became the most decorated Commonwealth Games swimming medallist and his haul of five took him to 17, one behind Australian shottist Phillip Adams.
The men’s 4x100m medley relay team, who revamped their team before the evening final, with only Calvyn Justus staying in the quartet, finished third in the dramatic final, won by Australia ahead of England, to sign off in the pool for South Africa with a bronze.
Le Clos, Van der Burgh and Tandy had all come in for the final and they significantly strengthened things as South Africa timed 3 minutes 34.79 seconds compared to their morning qualifying swim of 3:42.44. It was down in no small part to Le Clos’ split of 50.79 in the butterfly after strong work by Van der Burgh (59.20) in the breaststroke, but the two others played a full part in securing the medal.
“It was my fastest-ever split, by a second. This medal and that in the (100m) freestyle are the best two of these Games for me. To swim against the best in the world, that’s what it’s about,” said Van der Burgh.
Tandy, collecting the second medal inside a couple of hours, has long been regarded as a sprinter who is destined to win a ‘big one’.
The 26-year-old finished sixth in the Rio Olympics in 21.79 and on Tuesday touched the wall in 21.81, beaten only by England’s Ben Proud, the Games record holder. Proud won in 21.35 – slower than in his semi-final – but was chased all the way to the wall by Tandy.
“It’s the best result of my life… not the best time but performance-wise maybe top three. There’s one or two special ones that I’ll keep,” said Tandy.
“I’ve changed my style a lot and I definitely don’t have the best start, so when I come on the breakout I come with a lot of speed and it’s quite hard to maintain that. Once I get into my own stroke it kind of stops me and that’s the period for me to work on going forward. In the 50m it all comes down to the final, see who gets a hand on the wall.
Other South Africans in action on the last night were Brent Szurdoki, who went into the 1500m freestyle final with a number four seeding after an entry time of 15:11.22. Which is where he finished.
And the women’s 4x100m team of Nathanie van Niekerk, Kaylene Corbett, Erin Gallagher and Emma Chelius finished seventh in 4:12.02, with Australia breaking the Games record in 3:54.36.
African News Agency (ANA)