Saturday, 17 April 2010

8 SA swimmers set for Commonwealth Games

Three more swimmers achieved qualifying times for the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi in October on the fifth day of the Telkom South Africa Swimming Senior National Championships yesterday.

Darian Townsend (KZN) and Sebastien Rousseau (WP) fought out a closely contested final of the men’s 200m individual medley with Townsend always in the driving seat to win in 2:00.10 and Rousseau’s 2:01.01 was also good enough to beat the target time of 2:01.40.

Gideon Louw also qualified with a semi-final winning time of 22.34 in the 50m freestyle, to bring the total to eight swimmers altogether.

Both Roland Schoeman, in the 50m free semi-finals, and Wendy Trott, in the 400m freestyle, also achieved qualifying times but they had earlier qualified in the 50m butterfly and 800m freestyle respectively.

It was the busiest night of the week-long championships, with no less than nine senior finals (four male and five female), eight disabled finals and four youth finals making for 21 finals in all.

But it took some time before the crowd began to have something to cheer about, the opening four races, all senior finals, failing to produce any spectacular performances.

The first two CG qualifying times to be achieved were both in the men’s semi-finals of the 50m freestyle with the target set at 22.35.

Louw (NT) scraped under it by 0.01 second in 22.34 in the first heat and then it was the turn of Schoeman to cap it with a splendid swim of 22.16 that put him at the top of the list of qualifiers for Saturday’s final.

Challenging Schoeman and Louw will be Graeme Moore, Werner Bosman, Gregor Widmer, Donaven van der Merwe, Jason Lawson, Greg Kieck and Nico Meyer.

The dependable Trott was in a class of her own in the women’s 400m freestyle final as she cruised to victory in 4:08.57, just 0.19 second off her own national record of 4:08.38 at the Beijing Olympics wearing a fast suit.

But her time was also good enough to earn her a second qualifying time for this year’s Games to go with the 800m free she claimed on Thursday.

Townsend had earlier taken the 100m butterfly final by the scruff of the neck with his aim more to gain a place in the men’s 4 x 100m medley relay at the forthcoming Games than with the intention of eclipsing the Games qualifying time of 52.86.

Pushed all the way by his KZN teammate, Chad le Clos, Townsend hit the pads in 53.40, Le Clos in 53.53 with Gauteng’s Neil Watson also in the mix in 53.53.73.

Cameron van der Burgh (NT) captured his second breaststroke title of the meet, adding the 50m to the 100m he won on Wednesday, but exactly three- tenths of a second slower than the Games QT with a time of 27.93.

Donaven van der Merwe (KZN, 28.67) was second and Giulio Zorzi (NT, 28.78) third.

At least four swimmers in the men’s 100m backstroke final were seeking a qualifying time, Charl van Zyl, Ricky Ellis, Darren Murray and Gerhard Zandberg.

But Van Zyl’s winning time of 55.73 just missed the QT of 55.14 with the other three times even slower.

Karin Prinsloo was slow off the blocks at the start of the 50m free but still managed to outperform her Northern Tigers teammate, Vanessa Mohr, to win in 26.29, Mohr finishing in 26.73 and Jo-Mari van Zyl (CG, 27.11) third.

It was a double for Prinsloo after her success in the 100m free on Wednesday.

There was a blanket finish in the 100m breaststroke final, only 0.31 second separating the first three finishers, Taryn Mackenzie (CG, 1:12.20), Ronwyn Roper (KZN, 1:12.42) and Marguerite van Zyl (CG, 1:12.51) all clustered together at the timing pads.

But the title went to Mackenzie as did the 50m breast on Tuesday, but in too slow a time for a Games qualifier (1:09.01).

Mandy Loots put up another good performance to win the 200m backstroke in 2:14.88 going away from Jessica Ashley-Cooper (2:16.30) and Natasha de Vos (2:17.28).

Chanelle van Wyk swam a slower time in the final of the 50m backstroke than she did in getting a QT on Thursday evening, but took the title in 29.28 from Prinsloo (29.41) and Ashley- Cooper (29.62).


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