Stirling pupil wins three golds at Cana
ULTIMATE Swim Club (USC) member Lesley Blignaut received three gold medals and broke two championship records at the Confederation Africaine de Natation Amateur (Cana) Zone 4 Swimming Championships.
The Stirling High School pupil is the first USC swimmer to break two championship records at the international swim meet. Cana is geographically divided into four zones of Africa, each zone hosting its own age group championships.
Blignaut competed against swimmers from 12 other African countries including Angola, Seychelles, Swaziland and Zimbabwe.
The 16-year-old managed to beat swimmers from all over the continent and received gold medals for 50m butterfly, 100m freestyle and 50m freestyle. She beat the existing championship records in both 50m fly and 100m freestyle.
“We are really proud of Lesley, she gave a phenomenal performance and achieved phenomenal results,” said head coach at USC, Mathew Palmer.
Blignaut started swimming when she was four-years-old and was first selected to represent the Eastern Cape at South African Schools Swimming Championships in Cape Town in 2010 when she was nine. From then on Blignaut has taken swimming seriously, competing in various events, and aiming high throughout her swimming career.
“Swimming has taught me discipline as well as the value of setting and attaining goals,” said Blignaut. “I’ve been through everything you can imagine – wins, losses, injuries, friendships, enemies, sickness, yet I would never trade the lessons learned from that for the world.”
Blignaut has been hard at work this year in preparation for the junior and senior nationals. “To be honest none of our preparation has been geared towards Cana, but Lesley is always ready to swim fast,” said Palmer.
“It was a great privilege and honour to represent my country and to compete against swimmers from other African countries,” said Blignaut. “Competitions like this are a great stepping stone for swimming competitions further afield like the Junior Olympics, Youth Commonwealth Games and eventually the ultimate, the Olympic Games.”