The Benoni Sailing Club was abuzz with excitement recently when the 3rd annual Gauteng Open Water Championship took place.
Swimmers took to the pristine waters of Homestead Dam in a showcase of skill and endurance.
The first leg saw athletes competing in 10, 7.5 and 5km swims, to qualify for the National Open Water championships taking place in Cape Town this month.
Among the participants were Italian and Brazilian swimming clubs with the Italians dominating in the long distance. Aurora Ponsele (23) won gold in the 10km women -16 and over age category in a time of 2:00:15, while Simone Ruffini (26) took first place in the 10km men 16 and over age category in a time of 1:56:45.
“This has been a showcase of tremendous talent and endurance with athletes spending hours in the water to get a chance to compete with the best throughout the country. It is exciting to see the growth of swimming in the province with athletes from various communities and across different age groups. It is good for social cohesion.
“We might not have the sea but we have the talent to exploit the water and we hope more and more talent will be unearthed through activities like this and further lift the sport to new heights,” said MEC for the Gauteng Department of Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation, Faith Mazibuko.
The Open Water Swimming Championships were hosted in a partnership between the Gauteng Department of Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation and three aquatic affiliates of the province including Gauteng Central Gauteng Aquatics and Eastern Gauteng Aquatics and Northern Tigers Aquatics.
*Tumelo Taunyane works for the Gauteng Department of Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation.