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January 13, 2005

SA swimmers stay in the golden lane

From: Cape Times, South Africa - Jan 13, 2005

By Lindsey Arkley

Melbourne: All six members of the South African swimming team at the Deaflympics will be flying home as gold medallists, following another world record-setting day in the pool here yesterday.

Terence Parkin of Durban continued his sizzling form, picking up the first gold medal of the day for South Africa in the 200m freestyle in a world-record time for a deaf swimmer of 1:53.70.

Parkin then won gold in the 400m individual medley, in a time of 4:40.62, soon before entering the pool again to do the breaststroke leg of the 4x100m medley relay.

Greg Lessing of Gauteng did the backstroke leg, Ivan Du Toit of North-West the butterfly, then 18-year-old Nick Lessing swam the final freestyle leg, to win gold for South Africa.

Despite the added difficulty of competing in lane one, the team's time of 4:04.85 smashed the world deaf record by more than four seconds.

Shannon van der Berg and Marko Jansen Van Niewenhuizen, both of Gauteng, were also awarded gold medals because they had both swum in the morning's preliminary relay.

Under Fina rules, anyone helping the eventual winners qualify for a relay final also gets a gold medal, team coach Damian Marshall explained.

"The whole swimming team now has at least one gold medal to take home, and I think that's awesome," Marshall said. "The guys are really on fire."

South Africa has now won 12 medals at the Deaflympics - 10 gold and two silver - all in swimming, and it has consolidated its third place on the medal tally, behind the Ukraine and Russia.

The star of the team, Parkin, has nine gold medals - seven individual, and two as a member of relay teams.

Marshall is confidently predicting several more medals in the final two days of competition, and not just for Parkin.

"We have one more relay to go and I think we can pick that one up as well," he said.

©2005 The Cape Times & Independent Online (Pty) Ltd. All rights reserved.