South Africa Wins Four Swimming Golds On Day One Of All-Africa Games

Photo Courtesy: R-Sport / MIA Rossiya Segodnya

As expected, South Africa ruled the pool on the first night of competition at the All-Africa Games in Brazzaville, Congo. Egypt claimed two gold medals, with Algeria claiming the seventh win of the night.

Cameron Van Der Burgh, in his first competition since taking a well-deserved post-world championships break, dominated the 100 breaststroke with a 1:00.41 to repeat as meet winner. Surprisingly, Van Der Burgh did not own the meet record, as his 1:02.44 from the 2011 edition did not break Soufiane Daid’s record of 1:02.04. But Van Der Burgh was able to smash the record, though it is much slower than his fastest time of the year, a 58.59 from the world championships. He won by two seconds over silver medalist Youssef Elkamash of Egypt, who finished second with a 1:02.42. The incoming junior at Grand Canyon University just missed his national record of 1:02.01 from last month’s world championships. Finishing third was Wassim Elloumi of Tunisia with a 1:02.79, just missing his national record of 1:02.47 from 2011.

Devon Brown was pushed by Egypt’s Marwan Elkamash in the men’s 200 free final, but managed to give South Africa another win with a 1:47.77. That broke Ahmed Mathlouti’s meet record of 1:48.95 from 2011. Brown had swum a 1:46.85 at the world championships last month to rank 20th in the world. Elkamash was second in 1:48.58, while Mathlouti of Tunisia won the bronze in 1:49.29. Calvyn Justus of South Africa was denied a spot on the medal podium with a 1:49.58 for fourth place.

Jessica Ashley-Cooper won gold medal number three for South Africa with a 29.05 in the women’s 50 backstroke, just missing the meet record of 28.89 set in 2007 by Kirsty Coventry. Naomi Ruele of Botswana, who will be a sophomore at Florida International University, took second in a national-record time of 29.70, while Alexus Laird of Seychelles, who swims at IUPUI, took third with a 30.07.

South Africa wrapped up the session with an 8:20.28 in the 800 free relay, with Egypt second in 8:30.84 and Algeria third in 8:35.11.

Farida Osman of Egypt, one of the stars on the California-Berkeley women’s team, took down South Africa’s Karin Prinsloo in the women’s 100 free with a 55.41 to Prinsloo’s 55.69. Both took down Prinsloo’s meet record of 56.05 from the 2011 meet. That’s a national record for Osman, beating Rania Elwani’s55.85 from 2000. Rwan Elbadry of Egypt was third with a 57.03.

Mohamed Samy of Egypt took the men’s 50 back in 25.71, breaking Ahmed Hussein’s national record of 25.86. South Africa’s Richard Ellis took second in 25.89, with Egypt’s Mohamed Khaled taking third in 26.16.

Algeria had a lot to celebrate in the women’s 400 IM, where Rania Nefsi won with a 4:56.75 to beat the national record of 4:57.51 by Souad Cherouati from last year. Cherouati also beat her national record with a runner-up time of 4:57.30. Not far behind was Egypt’s Rwioda Heshem with a 4:58.88.

2015 All-Africa Games, Day 1 – Results


  1. avatar

    Cooper’s 50 back pr is 28.85 from WUGs two years ago @ Kazan.

    Jeff: were the 2K13 WUGs held in same arena as this year’s Worlds?

    Also…fyi….Coommonwealth Youth Games begin Monday in Apia, Samoa.

    • avatar
      Jeff Commings

      WUGs was not held in the same facility as worlds. WUGs was held in the permanent pool in the Aquatics Palace, while worlds was in a temporary pool inside the Kazan Arena, a soccer stadium a stone’s throw from Aquatics Palace.

  2. avatar

    Might the runner-up in men’s breast and men’s 200 free be related? Strikes me as being rather coincidental were they not brothers but maybe El Kamash (way name spelled in World Championships results) is as common in Egypt as Smith or Jones here in U.S. Marwan’ll be a junior this fall @ South Carolina and holds Middle Eastern/Egyptian 200 free record w/his 1:47.73 @ the Charlotte stop of the Arena Pro Swim Series last May. He also went a pr but non-record 3:48.15 in prelims of 400 free @ Worlds last month.

    • avatar
      Jeff Commings

      Yes, they are related. Marwan’s the eldest brother.