Grand Prix 2nd leg 2016

SSA Grand Prix 2nd leg & Age Group Gala 8 5th to 7th February 2016

KZNA will be hosting the 2nd leg of the SSA Grand Prix Series which started in Nelspruit in January and will move onto PE and Cape Town for the last two legs later in the month.

The SSA Grand Prix series is part of SSA long-term development program which will give high-level competition for all locally based swimmers.

These galas will allow senior elite swimmers the opportunity to experience tough racing conditions over two days. As the SSA Grand Prix 2nd leg is set up as Heats in the evening starting at 19H00 and Finals to be swum the next day at 12H00, KZNA has scheduled Age Group Gala 8 to be swum between the Finals and Heats on Saturday and before the finals on Sunday.

KZNA will be hosting the SSA Grand Prix 2nd leg and they would like all KZN registered swimmers that have swum a Youth or National qualifying time to enter the Grand Prix and it will be a great opportunity for all our other swimmers to see KZN based swimmers take on the elite from the other provinces.


Due to combination of the SSA Grand Prix 2nd leg and Age group 8, KZNA has time constraints, therefore, the Age Group Gala will accommodate only the top 10 entries received in the following age groups: 10 and under, 11 years, 12 years, 13 years, 14 years, 15 and over

Saturday:         200 Back, 50 Free, 100 Breast, 200 Fly (14 and under and 15 over) 100 Free.
Sunday             200 IM, 100 Back, 200 Free, 100 Fly, 200 Breast

Entering Monica into Age group 8:

In our previous post, we discussed the rules of swimming and our disappointment when our daughter, Monica Botha, cannot swim her favorite 100 and 200-meter Freestyle events at the Provincial championships in February at the age of 8 due to level 2 qualifying times.

As swim mom, I realized that we will run into this a lot more and we now view the news as a positive rather than negative as it will give Monica a chance to focus on the 100-meter Butterfly which will be the last event on day 1 of the swim meet.

Yay’s and nay’s will always be part of her swimming career which is still a long road that lies ahead. With the disappointing news, came some other good news!

We studied Monica’s seeded times and were not sure if she places in the top 10 in the 10 & Under age group.  We were also not sure if KZNA would let her swim at this age group gala due to her age (8).  Nevertheless, we decided to enter Monica in all 8 events over the two-day period and sent the entries through.  Below Monica’s top seasonal times by January 2016.SSA Grand Prix 2nd leg Age group 8 Monica Botha top times

The last swim meet for level 1 swimmers takes place in November of each year and we never know how many swimmers celebrate their birthdays between November and January when swimming starts again.  Many swimmers move on to the next age group during this period of time which means the top 10 times in 10 & Under change as well.

We received the good news that Monica could swim the 8 events, which confirms that she is ranked in the top 10 girls 10 & Under age group in Kwazulu Natal.  This is going to make for good swimming on 5-7 February 2016.

SSA Grand Prix 2nd leg - entries Age group 8 Monica Botha

So even though Monica cannot swim at some of the development galas, she is able to swim the age group events which gives her an opportunity to improve her times.

Our favorite quote is that of Katy Ledecky:

If you have a lane, you have a chance.

Taken into account Monica’s words to me: Mom, you can enter me for any event and I will swim it, always ring clear in my mind when doing her entries.  We need to keep her in the water, get her a lane and let her swim.   As parents, we have an agreement with her that we will not do anything to hurt her or expect something from her which we know she is not ready for.

Looking forward to the 2016 Grand Prix and age group gala next week!!


Provincial champs L1 2016

Provincial champs Level 1 2016

Provincial champs 2015

Monica Botha aged 7 at the 2015 Provincial champs – 6 Gold medals of which 3 were provincial records

With all the club galas, age group and other fun events on the swimming calendar, only 3 events are critical for us to swim every year:

  • KZN Junior championships in September.
  • KZN Aquatics Provincial champs in February.
  • Swimming South Africa regional championships in March/April.

Monica swam her first Level 1 Provincial champs at the age of 7, in 2015.  She won all her events in the 8 & Under girls age group and set 3 new provincial records:

  •  50  m Freestyle @ 37:84 – record stood at 37:96
  • 100 m  Freestyle 1:23:17 – record stood at 1:35:12
  • 100 m backstroke @ 1:40:79 – record stood at 1:46:35

This year, we are facing an issue as in the 2015-2016 season, Monica swam the 50, 100 and 200-meter Freestyle in level 2 qualifying times:

  • 50 meter @ 35:66 seconds
  • 100-meter freestyle @ 1:18:90
  • 200-meter freestyle @ 2:51:28

The Speedo KZN Aquatics Level 1 Provincial championships will be held at Kings Park swimming pool on 20-21 February 2016.  In the rules on the entry form, it states the following:

  • A Swimmer that has swum one Level 2 time may not swim in these Championships.
  • If a Level 1 Swimmer swims a Level 2 time:
    a. After the KZN Premier Championships held in December 2015 and did not swim in the KZN Premier Championship, the swimmer may enter the level 1 championship but may not swim the event or events that they achieved a level 2 qualifying time.

We were not clear on this point, so contacted the gala secretary as the Swimming South Africa rule states the following:

Swimmers 10 years and younger are encouraged to swim Level 1 even if they have qualified for a higher level. Similarly, swimmers 11 years with Level 3 times are encouraged to swim at Level 2. The choice, however, is left to the individual and their advisors.

I.e. due to Monica’s age, she would still be allowed to swim these events regardless of her times.  We received a message from the club stating the following:

Please note that KZNA has responded to me regarding the rule and they said
that the swimmer may enter as long as they have not participated at KZN
Premier Champs last year and do not enter their level 2 qualified times.
For Monica, I think those events are 100 and 200 Free.

This, in short means, that she is not allowed to enter the 100 and 200-meter freestyle events at the Provincial championships in February.  The Provincial championships is a development gala so even though we are disappointed, we still maintain a positive outlook on the event and will now focus our efforts on the 100 m butterfly which will be the last event on the first day.  Monica has this habit to swim her best times at the end of the day, not the beginning.

We get the question: “Why do you not let her swim level 2 championships as she has 2 qualifying times?”  Well, as her parents we watch her closely and she is just a normal 8-year-old.  We know the level of competition increase as they move up the ranks and we experienced some rivalry already at the age group galas.  Monica needs to mature some more in order to swim level 2.

We will keep her at Level 1 until she reach maturity or gets bored swimming Level 1 events.