By: STAFF REPORTER
NAMIBIAN swimmers made history at the South African National Championships for the Physically Disabled held in Pretoria recently.
Caitlin Jane Botha became the first junior female Paralympic swimmer from Namibia, while Karlien Coleman became the first senior female Paralympic swimmer of the country.
Botha, who is classified as a S6 swimmer, also set two Namibian junior women’s records.
She swam the 50m breaststroke in two minutes and two seconds and she followed it up with a 50m backstroke time of two minutes and 18 seconds.
Coleman, accompanied by her coach Christie Coleman, also set three Namibian records in the S6 senior category.
She now holds the 50m backstroke record with a time of one minute and 27 seconds, the 50m freestyle record of one minute and six seconds and the 100m freestyle record of two minutes and 36 seconds.
“Namibia should be proud. This is a great achievement from these two ladies. Well done!,” said fellow Paralympic swimmer Gideon ‘The Brave Swimmer’ Nasilowski, who also competed at the event.
Nasilowski competed in the 50m breaststroke, 50m backstroke, 50m freestyle and the 100m breaststroke.
“Unfortunately in the 50m events I could not break the Namibian records I set in December 2012,” he said.
“I clocked almost the same times, only split seconds away from breaking the record.”
However, he improved the Namibian 100m breaststroke record by 43 seconds and achieved an A-Qualifying standard for World Championships set for Canada in August.
“I am a proud Namibian athlete and it makes me happy to see how the sport has grown. Together with these two ladies I am excited to say that we now have a Paralympic swimming team in Namibia. The team that did so well that we ended fourth overall at the South African National Championships for the Physically Disabled despite being only three swimmers,” Nasilowski said.
The swimmers barely have time to revel in the limelight of their accomplishment as they head to Port Elizabeth for the 2013 SA National Aquatic Championships which take place from 15 to 20 April.
“This is a big one and I am looking forward to doing well again. Working hard always pays off,” said the motivated paralympic swimming pioneer.
“I would like to use this opportunity to thank Lynn Van Der Walt, Ivo De Gouveia and Stephan Lofty Eaton Properties who made handsome financial contributions for my dietary supplement needs and a set of professional swimming goggles.
“I would like to thank Karen Munting Architects who came on board with $10 000 sponsorship after seeing my Oanob swim and this made my trip to PE possible.
“A special thank you to First National Bank of Namibia who always assist me with plane tickets and support me every step of the way.”