Team SA Swimmers celebrated upon arrival

Among those to land at OR Tambo International Airport were double gold medalist, Lara van Niekerk, Pieter Coetze- who bagged 3 medals at the Games, Para-medalist Christiaan Sadie, and silver medalist Erin Gallagher.

File. Lara van Niekerk admitted that she exceeded her own expectations. Picture: @TeamSA2024

South Africa’s triumphant swimmers returned to the country on Friday, after a successful outing at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

They were welcomed in Johannesburg by a sizeable crowd consisting of mostly friends, family, and teammates. Officials from the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) were also present.

Among those to land at OR Tambo International Airport were double gold medallists, Lara van Niekerk and Pieter Coetze - who bagged three medals at the Games, Para-medalist Christiaan Sadie, and silver medalist Erin Gallagher.

Van Niekerk admitted that she exceeded her own expectations in the United Kingdom after a disappointing showing at the World Championships in July.

“I was expecting to medal in the 50 but I knew the 100 was going to be a tight one. I literally surprised myself, especially after I had the world champs a month ago and my results didn’t go the way I wanted,” said van Niekerk.

Following her success, 19-year-old van Niekerk intends to keep her feet firmly on the ground and keep working hard with the 2024 Paris Olympics in mind.

She will compete at the National short-course championships from 10 August, with the aim of qualifying for the World Short Course event in December.

‘I still don’t have the words to describe how it felt [to win]. The emotions are just confusing. It feels amazing though to get out, represent your country and win two gold medals,” van Niekerk added.