KNYSNA NEWS - Local swimming sensation Aimee Canny has excelled in the pool once again, this time alongside a handful of other swimmers as they set new SA and African long course records in the 4x200m and 4x100m freestyle relays.
They also clocked an Olympic qualifying time.
Canny (17) was a member of a relay team together with Dune Coetzee, Hannah Robertson and Rebecca Meder, that took part in the Stellenbosch Train Camp and Time Trial at the Coetzenburg Stadium two weeks ago, along with swimmers from throughout the country.
The week-long camp ended with a weekend of racing from 19 to 21 February. Canny and company took to the waters on the first day of racing for their 4x200m freestyle relay.
Canny was first off the block, completing her 200m in a time of 2:00.71. She was followed by Coetzee, who swum her leg in 2:00.81, with their relay time at 4:00.52 at the halfway stage.
Robertson was up next, clocking in her 200m at 2:02.00, and Meder rounded out the record-breaking swim with a time of 2:01.19, so the girls finished their relay in 8:04.71. This time smashes the previous long course 4x200m relay South African and African record of 8:08.12 set by Karin Prinsloo, Marlies Ross, Rene Warnes and Erin Gallagher in 2014, by a whopping 3.51 seconds.
The time is not only record-breaking, but is also an Olympic qualifying time, and the 14th fastest long course 4x200m relay time in the world in the run-up to the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. This means South Africa is inside the required Top 16 qualification spots for the Olympics.
While this is an Olympic qualifying time, it is by no means a guarantee that Canny or any of the other girls has done enough to reach the Olympics.
There are still the SA Olympic Trials in early April, where any swimmer who swims an individual Olympic qualifying time could get to represent SA at the Olympics. There is also still the possibility that other countries could swim faster 4x200m relay times, knocking SA out of the qualification spots. While there is still much on the line, it remains a huge achievement for Canny, Coetzee, Robertson and Meder.
Canny swam in a few other races at the camp in addition to the relay. She and Meder were teammates again as they set another SA and African record in the 4x100m freestyle relay alongside Erin Gallagher and Emma Chelius.
With a time of 3:42.59, this beat the previous record of 3:43.35 set by Gallagher, Chelius, Meder, and Tayla Lovemore in 2019.
Further, in the 4x100m medley relay Canny won gold alongside Gallagher, Meder and Tatjana Schoenmaker; in the 100m freestyle she won gold; in the 50m freestyle she won silver; and in the 200m freestyle she won silver.
While not 100% satisfied with her times, Canny was happy to be back in long-course swimming after months of short course. "The experience was amazing; everyone was just working together and it was great to swim long course again ahead of the national champs. It was the closest thing we've had to normal in a very long time," she said.
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