WBHS wins inter-provincial gala for 10th consecutive year

U15A swimmer, Lucas Beukes, powers to victory in the U15 Butterfly Relay. PHOTO: Submitted.

WESTVILLE Boys’ High School won the thrilling invitational inter-provincial gala held at Westville Aquatics Centre for the 10th consecutive year.

This gala provides a platform for local KZN schools to compete against some of the best swimming schools in the country. Of the local schools, Northwood and Hilton were not represented but the rest were there. It was the out of province teams however who were to push defending champions WBHS to perform even better than they did last year. Grey College was once again very strong in all their age groups and gave WBHS a hard time on the evening, with many races being decided by a fraction of a second. Grey never finished out of the top three while St. Davids had a balanced all round team and both pushed WBHS in every race.

WBHS started very well in what turned out to be an intensely exciting and action packed gala. The hosts won the first three freestyle events in record time with Grey coming second in those. The tone was set for a very intense and closely fought gala that saw some great improvements in terms of swimmers performances’ from previous years. Grey won the U17 freestyle and Lucien Mattyssen from WBHS swam a 51.5 seconds 100 metres freestyle to anchor the home team to victory in the open 4 x 100 metres freestyle

The breaststroke is traditionally the Achilles heel for WBHS but this year saw them win the first four races to put them eight points in front but a sixth place in the open event saw Grey close the gap to two points.

The backstroke saw things temporarily unravel for Westville. After winning the under 14 race , the hosts were disqualified in the U15 event after initially winning the race. This left them 10 points behind Grey with 14 events remaining. They thus needed to win at least 11 out of the remaining events. The hosts responded well by breaking the U16 back stroke record and winning both the U17 and open events.

WBHS are traditionally favourites in the butterfly and did not disappoint with all the age groups winning and the U14, U15 and U16 teams all setting new records. WBHS had closed the gap to two points and all would depend on the medley. Unfortunately for Grey, at the point they were disqualified in the U19 butterfly

The hosts did not disappoint and won all five races with three more records being set. WBHS were now 10 points clear with only the ladder to take place. The ladder freestyle is the ultimate event of the evening as a school needs only one good swimmer per age group and any school can win this event. WBHS started in front and the lead was reduced to a touch when WBHS’s Lucien Mattyssen once again stepped up with a sub 24 second 50 metres freestyle swim to win the race and gala for his school.

The Invitational Gala is arguably the top boys’ relay gala in the country and competition is becoming fiercer and fiercer between the top swimming schools. On Friday night Westville needed to win 22 of the 26 races and break 10 records to hold off Grey College and retain the trophy.

Scores

WBHS A 241; Grey College 230; St. Davids 181; St. Benedicts 160; Clifton 149; Glenwood 124; WBHS B 116; Kearsney 100; Maritzburg College 86; DHS 29.

  AUTHOR
Deshni Ramkissoon-Pillay
Journalist

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