TuksSwimming claim seventh USSA title

ANTHONY JORDAAN

In what has turned out to be an unparalleled year of success on the sports field for UP athletes of all disciplines, TuksSwimming have come to be the latest team to expand the University’s trophy cabinet for the year. Spanning the weekend of 22 to 24 September, the team claimed their seventh USSA title overall, in the latest instalment of the Universities Sport South Africa (USSA) swimming championship.

The Gala, which was hosted at the TuksSwimming pool, featured amongst others, young UP talents, Neil Fair and Tatjana Schoenmaker. Fair, having recently represented South Africa at the World Student Games in Taipei as well as at last year’s World Short Course Championships in Canada, was particularly tilted to perform at the tournament. It is then unsurprising that amongst the standout performers for the competition it was Fair who dominated the individual medley events. It was here where Fair claimed a total of six medals, winning both the men’s 200m and 400m races, as well as the 1500m freestyle further finishing second in the 100m and 200m backstroke events, and third in the 50m backstroke. Making the students achievements all the more impressive was Fair’s victory in the 400m individual medley, a new USSA-record with a clocked time of 4:36.09

It wasn’t just a Neil Fair show as in the female events it was Tatjana Schoenmaker who was a stand-out performer amongst competitors from around the country. Schoenmaker was dubbed as the best female swimmer at the gala alongside, Neil Fair, who was determined to be the best male swimmer. The pair’s individual excellence, tallied together with other athletes performing at the event, contributed to the team claiming the overall first place position for the competition, with the men’s team finishing above all their competitors while the women finished second overall.

Victory at the tournament was made all the more sweeter, as UP was able to overturn their narrow loss to the University of Stellenbosch (Maties) just two years ago. The result now means that the team join the likes of Tuks women’s hockey team, cricket, chess, judo, golf, women’s beach volleyball, and rowing team in claiming victory in their respective USSA Tournaments in 2017.

At the end of the weekend, the final standings of the competition reflected as follows: overall USSA winning team: first, Tuks; second, Maties and third, Varsity College. Overall Men’s team results: first, Tuks; second, Maties and third, Varsity College. Overall Women’s team results: first, Maties; second, Tuks and third, North-West University (NWU). Best Female swimmer: Tatjana Schoenmaker (Tuks). Best Female individual performance: Tatjana Schoenmaker (Tuks). Best Male swimmer: Neil Fair (Tuks). Best Male Individual Performance: Myles Brown (Varsity College).

Rocco Meiring, the TuksAquatics head of programme and club manager described working with the team as a “great experience”.

TuksSwimming, one of more than thirty sports clubs at UP, is a club designed to accommodate both competitive and dedicated athletes as well as developing youth athletes from around the province and country. The club is regarded as one of the best clubs in South Africa and offers courses which include competitive senior and junior programmes, stroke correction, pre-competitive, junior programmes, and learn to swim programmes.

Through these designated programmes, the club set about optimising athletic potential, through the provision of professional and world class coaching staff. The club’s coaching staff are all accredited by international standards and operate at the club’s facilities at the LC de Villiers’s sports grounds. Here facilities range from an Olympic sized 50m swimming pool, a 25m heated outdoor pool (at the HPC), and a 12m heated indoor pool at the TuksSport Centre.

All these variables then tally up to what is the inevitable success of the club on a national and provincial level. Currently TuksSwimming rank within the top three senior clubs in the country, top two junior clubs in the country, and most importantly, are the largest distributor of locally produced Olympians and World Student Games representatives. Meiring attributed the TuksSwimming’s success to being enough fortunate to draw motivated and talented athletes. He added that the university provides “good backing” to the athletes, and support them to help them reach their full potential.

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