Golden Gran back to roots
GREAT Britain’s Golden Gran Jane Asher will be the headlining name taking part in this year’s South African National Masters swimming competition getting under way at the Joan Harrison Swimming Complex tomorrow.
However, it is a sort of homecoming for Asher who was born in Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia), grew up in Johannesburg and then attended Rhodes University.
She subsequently moved to England to further her studies, where she then married and settled down.
Asher did swim in the Midmar Mile a number of years ago, but this will be her first appearance in the South African Masters Nationals.
“I decided to come and take part because it’s in East London this year and my school friend lives there,” explained Asher.
At 86-years-old Asher is a world class Masters swimmer and has competed in events across the globe, setting 75 FINA Masters World Records along the way in freestyle, individual medley, backstroke and butterfly sprint events across various age categories.
Records will however not be a priority for Asher during this weeks Masters as she will just be looking to enjoy the event.
“I just hope to swim well, I aged up last year and swam over 30 races going for records,” said Asher.
“It was very successful and I was pleased to get every one I was going for.”
“So this year I will be swimming for the pleasure of meeting old friends and making new ones.”
Asher will be the oldest female taking part in the SA Masters, while local Amakhosi swimmer Terry Briceland will be the oldest male, also at 86years-old.
A number of South African Masters swimmers will also be aiming for top honours.
Edith Ottermann (51) and Tim Shead (65), both from Cape Town Masters, Heather Campbell (62) from East Coast Durban and Terry Downs from Coelacanth’s Pretoria have all represented South Africa and taken part in a number of world championships and will be among the favourites in their divisions.
On the local front Amakhosi swimmers Butch Coetzee (61), Carla Mackenzie (62), Joe Hiltsrom (73) and Ronald Wallace (76) have also taken part in world championships and they will be eager to take top honours on their home turf.
The Masters gets under way at 8am tomorrow morning at the Joan Harrison, with the opening ceremony scheduled to take place from 3pm.