Olympic gold medallist Chad le Clos became the third swimmer to qualify for the FINA World Long Course Championships later this year … and it wasn’t even in the final!
Swimming at the national championships in his home pool of King’s Park, Le Clos coasted to a 1min 47.93sec victory in the 200 metre freestyle.
That sees him join fellow Olympians Cameron van der Burgh and Myles Brown as qualifiers for the World Champs in Russia after the latter two had booked their places in the 100m breaststroke and 400m freestyle respectively.
Van der Burgh posted the third fastest time in the world this season in his 59.78 second victory in the final where he beat Marko Visser and Ayrton Sweeney, who posted times of 1:02.27. The Olympic Champion already posted the qualifying time in Monday’s semi-final.
‘I am really happy with my swimming right now and I am just really enjoying the competition,’ Van der Burgh said. ‘I mean Marko Visser and Ayrton Sweeney posted PB times tonight as well. I have the 50m and the 200m breast coming up this week and I look to really have fun.’
He said the plan for the year was to do as much racing as possible with a few Mare Nostrums and racing in Europe on the cards.
Earlier, veteran swimmer Roland Schoeman claimed the 50m butterfly in a time of 23.69 seconds with Nico Meyer in second place in a time of 24.24 and Ryan Coetzee with 24.45.
‘I want to tell South Africans that sport doesn’t have a sell by date and I am just really happy about my performance,’ the 34-year-old Schoeman said. ‘I haven’t done much fly training since I only arrived three days before the start of the championships and I’ve experienced sleepless nights with the jetlag.’
Time is seemingly having little influence on the four-time Olympian who is hoping to qualify for his eighth World Championships after making his debut in 2001.
‘This would be my eighth World Championships qualifier, my first one was in 2001. To date I have about 72 medals. I definitely want to go through to the Olympics next year.
‘Swimming is definitely my passion, but I want another passion. The time is there for me to have another passion, maybe to get married, to coach swimming.’
Meanwhile, Vanessa Mohr claimed the 100m butterfly title clocking 1:00.21 with Jessica Ashley-Cooper in second place with 1:01.14 and Marne Erasmus finishing in third place in 1:01.46.
In the women’s 200m Individual Medley, the 17-year-old Marlies Ross bagged the gold medal in a time of 2:17.00.She was followed by Kirsty McLauchlan in 2:17.35 and Rene Warnes, who touched the wall in 2:18.66 for third place.
Rising women’s swimmer Erin Gallagher, 16, was crowned 50m freestyle champion, the KZN youngster sprinting to victory in a time of 25.93 with Trudi Maree finished in second place in 26.05 and Emma Forbes-Milne grabbing the bronze in 26.60.
In the men’s 50m butterfly disable S14 multi-class Challis Wright clocked a time of 28.44 with Ethan Paulse in second place in 28.90 and Craig Groenewald third with 29.60.
Shark-bite victim Achmat Hassiem claimed the men’s 50m butterfly S10 multi-class event in a time of 27.71 seconds with Jared Burger taking silver in 31.40 and Jean Pretorius third in 32.41.
Only athletes registered with and in good standing with SSA will be considered for selection to the world championships.
SSA has made it clear that a swimmers must participate at the SSA National Swimming Championships and attained Qualification Time Standards at the Trials, will be considered for selection.
Source : South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee