SSA L2 Champs finally arrives! We leave Pretoria on 29 March 2017 and it is sad to say goodbye to my godmother, Aunty Mandie and the rest of our family. SSA L2 starts on 31 March – 2 April.
En route to Swimming South Africa L2 Champs:
We have some time on hands and mom always makes time to stop at the Voortrekker Monument‘s garden of remembrance to pay respects to her parents and grandparents. My great grandparents (grandfather’s side) emigrated in 1935 to South Africa from the Netherlands. (Grandfather on my mom’s side is also Dutch – Koster)
Grandfather Paul Stuiver and his two brothers were born in South Africa. I am, therefore, the third generation South African. Willem Bill Koster was a talented musician. He played piano concerto’s during their lunch breaks for extra money. It is great to know my family’s history.
The Garden of Remembrance is situated at the Voortrekker monument and considered to be one of the safest and most peaceful places of rest. The niches are built into walls and the garden forms part of the Nature reserve at the Monument.
I must say, it is really quiet and peaceful out there.
We are not allowed to visit any other place than the garden as we do not pay at the gate. As a result, we just drive past the monument.
Our next stop is the Airforce memorial at Swartkop. This SAAF memorial is a memorial for all air force members that sacrificed their lives since 1915.
Grandfather Paul Stuiver was building foreman when the memorial was built in 1962 (they built in 11 months and the cost of the building was just R 73,000-00 ~ unbelievable.)
The memorial resembles flight. When I look at it, I can see the cockpit, two wings, and tail – so it is quite an impressive design.
The memorial has a chapel where a memorial service is held every May.
The South African flag flies half mast as Ahmed Kathrada passed away on 28 March 2017.
Lunch break and SSA L2 Managers’ meeting:
We can only check in at our next accommodation in Germiston at 14:30 pm. It is lunch time and mom, who lived in Pretoria for 20 odd years, decide to take us to Irene dairy farm for lunch.
It is a great place and I could not believe it is in the middle of the city. I watch all the cows as they walk towards the milking stalls – they are very conditioned and well behaved.
We order a great lunch – mom and dad enjoy local cheese and crackers and I choose to eat a waffle with homemade ice-cream. There are some fascinating old tractors, a petrol pump, and a tire swing!
It is a nice break and takes my mind off swimming. Time to go through as mom has to collect our badges and attend the manager’s meeting.
We arrive in Germiston, unpack and head of to Dellville pool.
Everything is ready for tomorrow’s meet. I swim a couple of laps in the pool – just a nice warm-up.
We run into some friends from the Seagulls gala and it is great to see Gabriella again. She is from Johannesburg and makes me feel very welcome.
Eastern Gauteng Aquatics (EGA) is our hosts.
Mom attends the managers meeting and we return home for an early dinner and early night as we know the next 3 days are going to be tough.
Day 1: Swimming South Africa L2 Champs Germiston:
It is an early morning for us despite the passes we have for easy access. My left arm is a bit sore since Tuesday but mom and Coach dad said it might just need a warm-up.
We arrive at the pool and it is quite cold. Much colder than Durban! I do my warm-up and stretch but my left arm is still sore an a bit warm.
We wait for first-aid to arrive. The gentleman is very friendly. He says my triceps on my left arm is inflamed! I panic as we worked so hard before this swim meet.
First aid suggests that we just massage it before I swim my events. We need to give it a day and see how it goes.
Day 1 events are sprints – 50 breaststroke, 50 back, 100 free and the IM. I win my 100 free heat in a PB of 1:12:48!
Our first lesson at this swim meet is that we should not sit in the sun. It became blistering hot on the stands and we move underneath the stairs where it is cooler. The air is very dry.
In any case, we manage to find our spot and I make 3 finals on day 1. I cannot take anti-inflammatory medication to ease the inflamed triceps. It contradicts the asthma medication and I may battle with breathing. The inflamed triceps affect breaststroke and butterfly.
I place third in the 100 Freestyle finals and earn a bronze medal on day 1. Tired, but happy.
Time to make a call at Swimming South Africa L2 Champs:
Day 2: My arm is not better. Freestyle and backstroke is no problem but it is very painful to swim butterfly and breaststroke.
Time to make a call. Mom is worried that I end up with a shoulder injury due to the inflammation and the fact that my arm is stiff and sore. I can only take paracetamol which eases the pain and inflammation, but it does not allow the muscle to work the way it should.
I really hoped that it never would come to this. It is time to scratch some events.
Having done that, it allowed more time to rest between the backstroke and freestyle events. Day 2 delivers a silver in the 200 LCM freestyle. More exciting than the medal is my time: 2:36:65 – very happy coaches and mom!
We swim the heats in the morning. It is better now seeing that I have more time to rest between events.
I make the finals for 50 free and 200 backstrokes. 50 Freestyle PB in the morning heats – 33:24!
I spend lunch-time with my friend Alexia Greyling. So proud of her. I paid my medal at Seagulls SC champs in 2016 forward to her and she placed 4th in the 200 breaststroke finals and third in the heats at the champs.
Our family meets Alexia’s father and he expresses his gratitude for the inspiration. We do it out of love for swimming, but it is always rewarding to witness the positive impact it has on the recipients.
Another surprise – my older sister arrives to watch the finals! 200 backstroke was up first. I decide there and then to dedicate my finals to her.
Bronze for the 200 backstroke finals and another personal best of 3:01:48!
What a way to end Swimming South Africa Level 2 Champs! It is now time to rest before the next season.