Although they didn’t make the medal table on the first day, the South African team managed to make an impact on Friday when swimmer Lara van Niekerk made an explosive start with a record-breaking Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
The 19-year-old breaststroke specialist won her 50m race in 29.82 seconds in her morning workout. break the Commonwealth Games record one length of the pool.
And the heroine of the evening session won even faster in the semi-finals, touching the wall for 29.80.
She is just 0.08 points behind her own African record of 29.72, which she set at the National Championships in Port Elizabeth in April.
Setting up a potential attack on the podium for Team South America, Van Niekerk will join Olympic 200m champion Tatjana Schoenmaker, who finished fifth in the semi-finals (30.94), and Kaileen Corbett, who qualified eighth for the medals, in the 200m sprint final. (31.43).
Meanwhile, Peter Kutze was also in superb form in the men’s 100m backstroke, entering the final as the gold medal favorite.
The 18-year-old prospect clocked 53.67 – the fastest time in the semi-finals – finishing 0.33 faster than England’s Brodie Williams, who was second fastest (54.00).
Another teenager, Matthew Seyts, placed seventh in the men’s 400m freestyle final.
Seyts finished the race in 3:50.07 and Elijah Winnington led the Australian medal draw with a 3:43.06 gold.
17-time medalist Chad le Clos was unlucky early on, having failed in his first attempt to equal high game recordmissing out on a place in the men’s 50m butterfly final after placing 11th in the semi-finals.
Earlier, on the opening day of the competition in Birmingham, triathletes Jamie Riddle and Simone Ackerman put up a fight, showing solid results.
Riddle made an impression from the start of the men’s race, coming out of the water second, and he was still in the top three when he got off the bike.
He couldn’t hold on, however, dropping to sixth in the running stage as he crossed the line in 51:32 and Alex Yee secured the win for the hosts England in 50:34.
In the women’s triathlon, Ackerman finished eighth in 57:19, while Bermuda’s Flora Duffy won gold in 55:25.
Riddle and Ackerman will again enter the mixed relay on Sunday, along with former Commonwealth Games champion Henry Schumann, who withdrew from this week’s individual race to focus on team competition.
The Blitzboxes kept clean in their first matches of the men’s rugby sevens tournament, going on to win over obscure Malaysia (46-0) and Tonga (36-5).
They are booked a place in the quarter-finals with a pool game in hand – a dead rubber match against Scotland on Saturday.
In the Women’s Rugby Sevens tournament, South Africa was left languishing at the bottom of Group B after two crushing defeats to world-class teams.
They lost 38–0 to Women’s World Series champions Australia in their first match before losing 41–0 to Olympic bronze medalists Fiji.
The South African women’s ice hockey team also struggled in their first leg against Scotland.
Lisa-Marie Ditlefs managed to score twice for the national team, but it was not enough as Scotland went on to win 4–2 in the Group B match.