Tag: news

SA sea-swim icon Yach, 60, dies

Cape Town – Long-distance swimming legend and prominent Capetonian civic figure Theodore Yach has died while undergoing hospital tests for asthma.

The news was confirmed by the Cape Long Distance Swimming Association (CLDSA), who said in a statement: “South Africa’s most renowned open-water swimmer, Theodore Yach of Cape Town, passed away peacefully on October 17 (Wednesday).

“He was undergoing routine tests for an asthma condition when he collapsed and died in hospital.

“Theodore is a veteran of 108 Robben Island swims, an English Channel swim and many other international distance swims.

“He will be remembered as humble gentleman, who loved motivating the youth to achieve their dreams – he was a friend to all and took interest in all swimmers who shared his passion for sea swimming.”

Tributes have already followed on Twitter from prominent sports personalities.

Fellow swimmer and Ocean protection advocate Lewis Pugh (@LewisPugh), a United Nations Patron of the Oceans, wrote: “Devastated to hear of the passing of Theo Yach.

“One of the world’s great endurance swimmers. And so much more – family man, community leader, environmentalist. Rest in peace my friend.”

Leading former Test rugby referee Jonathan Kaplan (@RefJK) said:“I never knew Theo well but he had many interactions on social media.

“I had total admiration for his views on life and desire to push the limits of his body. I’m sad I never got to meet him. To his family, I wish you long life and much strength during this time. RIP champ.”

SA Olympic gold-medallist Ryk Neethling (@RykNeethling) described Yach’s passing as “terrible news”.

Charismatic Springbok and Western Province flank of the 1980s Rob Louw (@roblouw6) said: “Wow, can’t believe it … fellow Wynberg Boys High buddy and close friend who did the impossible by doing the Robben Island swim over 100 times has passed.

“What a gentleman and incredible athlete. Still shocked by the untimely news. RIP Theo.”

This writer, while based in the London office of the former Argus Group, accompanied Yach on his support boat across the English Channel on his first crack at the gruelling crossing in 1989.

Ahead of the attempt, some long-distance swim sages in his home city had said they feared he would fail as they felt he was simply too inexperienced and over-enthusiastic at the time; this duly occurred as he swallowed water from an oil slick in the busy shipping lanes and complained of stomach problems as a result.

But in a classic case of the “I get knocked down, but I get up again” virtue in sport, a better-prepared Yach triumphantly completed the crossing to France several years later, in 1996.

Yach was prominent in the property industry and charity work in his home city, and had been a recipient of the Mayor’s medal for civic contribution.

He leaves his wife Michelle and sons Daniel and David.


Written by: Rob Houwing

Le Clos bags 3 medals at FINA Swimming World Cup event

Johannesburg – Olympian Chad le Clos claimed an impressive three medals at the opening leg of the 2018 FINA Swimming World Cup in Kazan, Russian over the weekend.

According to SuperSport.com, Le Clos was the top performer winning gold in the 200m butterfly and silver in the 100m butterfly and the 200m freestyle.

He rounded off his performance in the pool with the 200m freestyle silver medal on the final evening of swimming action, clocking 1:48.10, behind the USA’s Blake Pieroni, who led from start to finish to take the spoils in a time of 1:47.32.

The South African swimming star brushed off a surprise defeat from the first day to turn in a gritty fight to win the 200m butterfly gold medal on Saturday against Russia’s Daniil Phakomov, who held a slight lead for the majority of the race.

At the last turn, Pakhomov had a 0.72s lead over Le Clos but the South African surged over the final half lap to out-touch the Russian posting a time of 1:56.58, to Phakomov’s 1:56.90, with Hungarian David Verraszto finishing in third place with 1:59.03.

The Olympic gold medallist was edged out in the final of the 100m butterfly on Friday with the USA’s Michael Andrew winning by a whisker in a time of 51.96, beating Le Clos to the wall by 0.04s with the South African sharing the silver-medal position with Russia’s Egor Kuimov as they touched at the same time of 52.00.

Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Ryan Coetzee just missed out on a medal, finishing behind Le Clos and Kuimov and posting a new personal best of 52.10, while in the 100m freestyle he swam to another personal best of 49.88 to finish fifth.

During the first day of the series, Coetzee finished seventh in the 50m freestyle in 22.66 and ended off the competition with a 5th place finish in the 50m butterfly with a time of 23.45.

Max Kieser missed out on a place in the 100m butterfly final, finishing eighth in his heat in 58.48, while in the 100m freestyle heat he clocked 53.81 and ended in 5th place.

James Dhooge featured in the 100m freestyle heats but could not advance to the final finishing seventh in his preliminary round clocking 54.85.

The next leg of the FINAL Swimming World Cup Series will be held in Doha from September 13 to 15.


Source: News24


Le Clos doesn’t feel pressure ahead of World Cup defence

Chad le Clos (Getty Images)
Cape Town – South Africa’s Chad Le Clos insists there is no pressure on him to defend his FINA Swimming World Cup title this season.

This year’s World Cup promises once again to be a fierce battle between the sport’s biggest names.

“No pressure at all, the World Cups are always a good time, of course I always want to win any competition I race in but I feel the World Cups are always special for me,” said a very confident and relaxed Le Clos, who currently trains in Antalya in Turkey for about 30 hours per week.

Discussing the format of the series, Le Clos admits that although it can be difficult to train in between the events, he loves the ability to challenge himself.

“For me personally, I think short course swimming is more exciting when it is over a series of events. I’ve always enjoyed the concept of a circuit with many stops around the world, although sometimes the structure around the events makes it difficult to train in between, especially when travelling through time zones,” said the Olympic champion.

“The World Cup is an opportunity for me to work on my skills throughout the year with short course racing and I challenge myself to win the overall series. There are many great champions that have come through and will challenge, and I have huge respect for all of them.”

Positive thinking and winning attitude is definitely two ways to describe Le Clos – although the best advice he ever received was from his father Bert Le Clos.

“I have received a lot of great advice from numerous mentors but the best advice has usually come from my Dad, he is the greatest. He has always said to me to never give up in any race no matter how far behind or ahead you are, that’s why I’m always able to push through during tough wins or losses,” he said.

Le Clos also confirmed that he will attend the FINA World Swimming Championships 2018 in Hangzhou, China, in December this year with the objective to establish new world records

European Championships 2018: Adam Peaty wins 100m breaststroke in world record time

Great Britain’s Adam Peaty broke his own 100m breaststroke world record to retain his European title in Glasgow.

The 23-year-old Olympic and world champion finished in 57.00 seconds – 0.13secs quicker than his previous best time – as team-mate James Wilby grabbed silver following a late surge.

Peaty took a huge lead on the first 50m before pulling away further to win by 1.54secs from fellow Englishman Wilby.

“I can’t believe I beat what I did at the Olympics,” said Peaty.

“I was in perfect shape then – I’m not even in that good shape now. I didn’t try to be in that good shape.”

Britain then won a bronze in the mixed 4x200m freestyle relay after a stunning final leg from Freya Anderson, 17, who moved up from sixth to third.

Elsewhere on day three of the inaugural multi-sport championships, cyclist Ethan Hayter, 19, won omnium gold, defending champion Katie Archibald took silver in the 3,000m individual pursuit and the men’s four and women’s eights both won silver in the rowing.

Hayter’s gold in the final event of the day moved Britain up to third in the medal table with three golds, five silvers and three bronzes.

Crocodiles, box jellyfish fail to deter 155 from swimming across Darwin’s Fannie Bay

By Emily Smith

Ed Archer stands at the beach in a green swimming cap and goggles

It was the thought of swimming 1.2 kilometres through a known crocodile habitat that had her feeling “very, very nervous”.

But today Ms Pursehouse, along with about 155 others, braved deadly sea creatures and a strong headwind to take part in the annual Fannie Bay Swim.

It is one of the few times swimmers set foot in the bay, given the presence of tentacles and toothy threats.

Yet the Darwin Surf Lifesaving Club, which organised the event, said safety was their number one priority.

It conducted scans for crocodiles, and said jellyfish were deterred by the cooler waters at this time.

While it was not enough to have Ms Pursehouse feeling completely confident, she and friend Yana Warrian made it into the water.

“It is always reassuring when they tell you they haven’t seen any crocodiles for two weeks,” Ms Warrian said.

“It’s probably out one chance to actually swim in the ocean.

“We’re surrounded by all this beautiful water and can never swim in it, so now’s the time to do it.”

As another competitor Ed Archer said: “there’s plenty of other people to eat.”

Liz Oliver, who recently moved to Darwin from Brazil, completed the 2.1 kilometre race while quietly hedging her bets.

“(I decided to) swim in the middle of the pack, and I never thought a crocodile would aim at me,” Ms Oliver said with a laugh.

“We all felt pretty secure, they had a lot of life guards.”

After the race, Ms Oliver hobbled up the beach to meet her family, who brought her crutches and a moon boot.

“I broke my foot on Wednesday so I was really disappointed I wasn’t going to make it,” she said.

“And I said, ‘you know what, I’m just going to try’.

“[I broke it] cleaning the house. I thought I was never meant to clean the house anyway.”

‘We’ve never lost a swimmer’

Despite the jitters of some swimmers, Darwin Surf Life Saving Club’s Bob Creek said the event was completely safe.

“We’ve never lost a swimmer and we don’t anticipate losing one in the future,” Mr Creek said.

“Our main focus is to make sure it’s a great event, everybody enjoys themselves, but it’s safe. That’s the first question people ask when they do this event.”

Mr Creek said the ratio of safety people to swimmers was about four or five to one.

He also said the area was scanned for crocodiles in the lead-up to the event, which he said were generally quite visible, and the water was too cold for jellyfish at this time of year.

Mr Creek usually swims in the event but skipped this year.

“There’s something iconic about swimming across Fannie Bay,” he said.

“The best part about it is just the participation.”

Tough training regime for competitors

The 1.2 kilometre event was taken out in 20 minutes and 22 seconds by 16-year-old Hamish Bjornskove Mcdonald, who was determined to beat his friend and defending champion Ryan Blenkinship.

Hamish said the most difficult aspect was the headwind, but was pleased his training (four to five kilometre swims six times a week) had paid off.

“Ryan is coming in second,” Hamish said, shortly after crossing the finish line.

“He won it last year so I was hoping to beat him.”

Ryan, who won the past two years, said he had been wary of his friend’s current form.

“I was nervous about Hamish because I know he’s been training heaps, and I haven’t been,” he said.

After downing a cappuccino and a Nutella sandwich, Giorgio Romano went on to win the 2.1 kilometre swim in 28 minutes and 18 seconds.

That gave him three wins in a row, although he said he still felt a little nervous beforehand because of the animals.

“But once you start swimming, it’s just keep steady, calm and try and maintain the pace and everything will be fine hopefully,” he said.

“It was cold enough not to have any dangerous jellyfish. I don’t like cold water but it’s better than being stung in the water.”

Mr Romano had been training for five and 10-kilometre races, swimming up to seven or eight kilometres six times a week.

‘This is pretty special’

Megan Gallagher was the woman’s champion in the 2.1 kilometres event, finishing in 32 minutes and 28 seconds.

In May she won the 10-kilometre race across Lake Argyle, which had seen her spend long hours training in the pool.

“This is pretty special being able to swim in the open water here, [I] felt totally fine,” she said.

“[There was] no threat of stingers at all. The water temperature is cool enough that they won’t be anywhere near here — I’d say it’s 27, 26 and we start to get a bit worried around 30 degrees.”

She also said a large number of interstate swimmers competed, some of which may have actually been encouraged by the events apparent risk factor.

“[Some come] to say they survived, definitely,” she said.

Ex-champion Magnini faces 8-year doping ban

Milan – Italy’s anti-doping prosecutors have requested an eight-year ban against former two-time world swimming champion Filippo Magnini, according to reports on Wednesday.

The Gazzetta dello Sport reported that NADO prosecutors requested an eight-year ban for Magnini and four years for his relay teammate Michele Santucci, who are being investigated for allegedly using banned substances.

Magnini, 36, who is retired, and Santucci, 29, were questioned last October over their relationship with nutritionist Guido Porcellini, who is being probed for allegedly distributing illegal drugs.

Four-time world medallist Magnini won the 100m freestyle at the 2005 and 2007 world championships and a relay bronze at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

Both swimmers have protested their innocence, and a lawyer acting on their behalf would not comment.

“It is important to specify that this is a request, far from being a definitive judgement on the issue,” said Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) president Giovanni Malago.

“Commenting would be a mistake on my part, Nado Italia is independent of CONI. In reading this news I am a spectator, even if an interested one.”


Source: News24