Pengelly unexpectedly smashes swimming record

Western Province teenage swimming sensation Jessica Pengelly battled to contain her surprise after smashing her national 400m individual medley record in front of a vocal crowd at the Samsung Swimming Grand Prix series at the University of the Western Cape on Saturday.

Competing in the race dubbed the “Battle of the Jessicas”, which included Port Elizabeth rising star Jessica Liss (12), Pengelly took the honours in four minutes and 41,94 seconds to eclipse her previous national mark of 4:43,76.

KwaZulu-Natal’s Kathryn Meaklim finished second in 4:45,41 with Liss third in 4:53,77.

“I can’t believe it; it’s just mind-boggling,” said an excited Pengelly afterwards. “I never tapered for this gala as I have been focusing my training on posting an Olympic ‘A’ qualifying time at the national championships in Durban in April, and I cannot believe the time I achieved here today.

“I took a rest from my training programme on Friday. Maybe it helped me today.
I am just over the moon with the time, because it motivates me to go even faster when I plan on peaking in April.”

Liss, meanwhile, returned to the water to take the 100m breaststroke, and showed just why she is rated as one of the most talented swimmers in the country at her young age as she won the event in 1:11,66.

KwaZulu-Natal swimmers Courtnay Mower and Meaklim finished second and third in 1:13,20 and 1:13,63 respectively.

Following the morning withdrawal from the gala of Pretoria-based Cameron van der Burgh due to a groin strain, William Diering stole the show in taking the 100m breaststroke in 1:05,11, with Soweto swimming star Thabang Moeketsane (1:05,53) next best.

Stellenbosch-based Heerden Herman showed glimpses of why he is hailed as another member of the new class of 2008 athletes that will take the country’s swimming to a new dimension as he took the 400m freestyle in 3:59,62.

KwaZulu-Natal’s Riaan Schoeman continued to impress in winning the 400m individual medley in 4:19,30, with provincial teammate Wesley Gilchrist taking the 200m freestyle in 1:54,24.—Sapa

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