The Nedbank Madibaz swimming club ended a successful season with an overall podium and 12 individual medals at the University Sport South Africa (USSA) aquatics tournament, which was held at Wits University in Johannesburg on November 28 and 29.
NMMU’s Alaric Basson won the university’s only individual gold medal in the men’s 200m breaststroke in a time of 2:22:18.
He and his teammates brought home five silvers and six bronzes to secure third place overall for their institution.
“It was a very enjoyable event, getting to interact with fellow swimmers from all the various universities,” said Basson.
“Despite the challenge of adapting to the Johannesburg altitude, I am happy to have brought home gold.”
Basson also competed in the 50m and 100m breaststroke events, adding that he was proud of his twin brother, Alard, who he felt had a lot more competition in the butterfly events.
Club manager Melinda Goosen said the Madibaz’s overall performance was excellent and a massive improvement on the previous year.
She said her team had finished sixth last year, with the men finishing fifth and the women seventh. This year the men were third and the women fourth.
“To put it in context, we fielded 11 swimmers whereas Maties and Tuks, who were first and second respectively, had between 20 and 25 swimmers each.”
Goosen said it had been an exciting season for the club, which included hosting their first ever swimming gala at the end of August.
“It was a big step for us as a university club to stand up and host such a big event.”
The Basson brothers and Edward Johannisen missed out on that event as they were representing South Africa at the African Games in Congo.
Alard and Alaric also turned out for the national team at the World Student Games in Korea in July.
While the swimmers were putting in long hours in the pool, Goosen said many of their new opportunities and achievements would not have been possible without the support of the title sponsor.
She said the fact that six of the 11 swimmers who represented NMMU at the USSA tournament were first years boded well for the future.
“With the prospect of attracting additional strong swimmers in 2016, and possibly 2017, we’re well on our way towards our objective of becoming one of the top university clubs.”
Goosen said the Basson twins had been invited by Swimming South Africa to compete in the first Grand Prix event in Nelspruit in January, where they will race against the likes of Olympian Chad le Clos.
Find Madibaz4U on Facebook or follow @Madibaz4U.