Four pupils jet off to SA swimming champs
SOMEBODY might wonder how it is possible for boys with special needs, and who are from a previously disadvantaged community, to conquer all before them in swimming.
This was evident when four Breidbach boys from the Sweetwaters-based Fundisa Special School were selected to represent Eastern Cape Province at the National Aquatics championships in Limpopo province this week (April 10 to 14).
The competition is hosted by the Department of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture (DSRAC) in partnership with department of Basic Education and Swimming South Africa, at the Polokwane Swimming Pool.
Waydon Jacobs, Emilo Groep, Keenan Groep and Breyten Casey were seen off by department officials, parents and members of the community at the East London Airport on Sunday. DSRAC SA’s chief director of marketing and at communications Mickey Modisane, said the championship was the culmination of elimination intra; inter-school, district and provincial elimination.
“The championships will be attended by 1000 able and disabled athletes including coaches and managers,” Modisane said.
“Athletes from both primary and secondary schools will participate in different items such as butterfly, breaststroke, backstroke and freestyle with heats taking place in the morning and finals set for the afternoon, until the programme concludes with the departure of teams set for 14 April [tomorrow].”
The boys’ coach, Siphokazi Nceba, is over the moon about the trip and is confident that they will return with medals.
“I have no words to describe the vibe here at the airport as it will be the first time ever that the boys and some of us [coaching staff] will be travelling by air and I can only thank all stakeholders for making it possible,” Nceba said.
“We as a school have already scooped 19 medals from provincial competitions and I am optimistic to scoop more from this event,” he said.
Emilo and Keenan, both 17 years of age, will compete in the 100m breaststroke and 150m freestyle, while Casey, 14, will try to get his medal in the 100m freestyle and Jacobs, who won three medals at the nationals in Port Elizabeth, being the favourite to repeat his performances.
When asked what to expect they all shared the same sentiments: “We will give it our best try and bring home gold from the nationals”.
“The best moments for me as a mother was when I saw my son, Waydon leaving the airport by plane which I will always treasure,” said mother to one of the boys, Katryn Jacobs.