Apart from Pretoria Boys’ High who did not make the trip down, all the country’s top swimming schools were at Westville Boys High( eleven schools altogether) to compete in the annual Interprovincial Gala, which has become the most competitive and exciting boys’ high schools gala in the country.
Hoping to retain their title for the seventh year in a row, Westville, South Africa’s champion swimming school, knew that they would have their work cut out for them.
Last year, Grey College Bloemfontein had won most of the butterfly races and had run the hosts close in the freestyle events, while Glenwood had bared their newfound swimming teeth by dominating the under 14 races. Although the hosts had emerged as clear winners in that gala, they were apprehensive about Friday night. Having already faced off the challenge from Glenwood and the other KZN and Gauteng schools in all the galas to date this year, they could only guess at the strength of the Grey College team of 2014 as this would be the first swimming encounter of the year between these two teams.
Swimming spectators were certainly not disappointed, as the gala proved to be one of the most the exciting boys’ interprovincial galas in recent memory. Every race was closely contested and many races required playback technology to work out the winner.
Westville had done their homework in the freestyle events winning three of the five races, turning the tables on Grey College on last year’s results.
Glenwood dominated proceedings in the Breastroke winning the under 15 , 16 and 17 events with Westville winning the under 14 event and St David’s the under 19 race.
The hosts regained their composure in the backstroke tying with Glenwood in the under 14 race and winning three of the remaining four backstroke events, with Grey College picking up a win in the under 15 event.
The Highways giants then won three of the five Butterfly races with Grey College chasing them all the way home and picking up wins in the other two butterfly races.
The Medley Relays were hotly contested by a number of schools and Westville certainly did not have things their own way there. Although they won two of the five events, they were out swum in the under 14 race by Grey College, the under 15 race by St David’s and were piped in the under 17 event by Clifton College.
The final event of the evening the freestyle ladder relay was won by a clear margin by St David’s.
Although Westville did not have things all their own way on the night, they did more than enough in the pool to emerge as clear winners, accounting for 15 races.
Grey College came away with 5 wins, Glenwood 4, St David’s 3 and Clifton 1.
As there was a 12th lane available, Westville swam their B team which consists of a highly competent squad of swimmers. Evidence of this was that they finished ahead of DHS and Northwood on the night.
The Gold Medal performances on the international scene by South African swimmers like Westville old boys Chad le Clos and Chad Ho and Crawford old boy Cameron Van den Berg, have certainly reignited a keen interest in swimming amongst school boys and this was very much in evidence last Friday night.
Final Gala Results
1 Westville 295
2 Grey College( Bloem) 270
3 St David’s 250
4 Clifton 215
5 Glenwood 209
6 Kearsney 149
7 Hilton 135
8 St Benedict’s 132
9 Maritzburg College 114
10 Westville B 108
11 DHS 93
12 Northwood 59