Flying from Nairobi, the Braeburn Swimming Team delegation of Jesse, Risha and Coach Finch arrived on the afternon of 19th March to participate in the 2018 South African National Junior (SANJ) Age Group Championships held from 21 to 25 March in Durban.
Risha debuted in the 2018 SANJ Age Group Championships on 22 March. In his second event, Risha posted a personal best time of 2:28.34 in the 200m freestyle event to secure the 33rd spot after the prelim rankings.
Also swimming in the same event and category, Jesse managed to finish the 200 freestyle also with a PB time of 2:34.57 for a 39th place finish in the prelims.
In their second day, swimming his favourite 100m freestyle event, Jessie touched the wall at 1:05.62, ranking him 23rd overall. He also raced the 100m breaststroke (1:31.74) ending-up in 31st place.
Risha swam his signature event, 100m breaststroke and won his heat by touching on 1.18.97 in the morning prelims and placed 3rd overall going to his first finals. Eventually, he took the bronze medal in a very closely fought contest in the evening finals. Furthermore, he already posted a SANJ qualifying time for next year and now qualifies for 2019.
Swimming his last event of the meet, Jesse took the 3rd position overall in the 50m freestyle heats with 28.48 seconds and booked his spot in his first finals of the event. In an unbelievably close finish, Jesse touch the wall in a time of 28.25 seconds – to land a 4th place finish behind a dead split for second in 28.24 and the winning time of 28.00.
Plunging into action in 200m IM, his fourth event, Risha touched the wall at 2:38.34. Although, he was 7th in the finals, Risha further improved his PB time to 2:36.18.
In the final day of the gala, Risha looked to end the gala on a high, making his third finals in 200m breaststroke when he touched at 2:50.96 for 3rd place in the prelims. In the finals, he gave his best effort but after a nail-biting end, his PB time of 2:49.49 was good for a 4th place finish.
More than anything else, participation in this gala was an invaluable experience for Risha and Jesse since this was their first time – as well as that, they developed confidence and character in the face of tough competition and acquired unforgettable memories of the gala and Durban.