Ayrton Sweeney became the fifth South African swimmer to qualify for the Fina World Championships later this year as the national swimming championships ended in Durban on Saturday.
Sweeney beat the qualifying standard by 0.02 seconds in a time of 2:11.64 as he won the 200-metre breaststroke final from Olympic Youth Games team-member Jarred Crous (2:17:50) and Francois Theron third (2:17.50).
‘I am really happy to have posted this time, I have faced many disappointments in the past always narrowly missing the QT by a few seconds, so it’s great to finally have achieved one,” Sweeney said. “The real work begins now for Kazan.”
Olympic gold medallist Chad le Clos brought the curtain down on the championships with his third gold medal.
Le Clos was in dominant form, touching the wall in first place with a time of 52.03 seconds in the 100m butterfly.
He was followed by Nico Meyer in 53.68 seconds, with George du Rand bagging bronze posting a time of 54.88. Le Clos bowed out of the six-day meet with four qualifying times for the World Championships.
He posted qualifying standards in the 200m freestyle, butterfly and Individual Medley and the 100m butterfly. He was on top in three of his four individual races with training partner Myles Brown taking the spoils in the 200m freestyle to relegate Le Clos to second place.
“I was aiming to time 51 seconds but I think I did pretty decent tonight,” Le Clos said. “I am happy with my 200m IM and 100m fly tonight, I really needed to qualify in the fly events.
“The 100m free was practice for me so that’s why I scratched out. The butterfly and medley events is my focus at this point.”
Le Clos said he expected faster times in the 200m butterfly and freestyle events. The final day of the championships saw three world qualifying times posted.
Sebastien Rousseau – one of the standout swimmers this week – attained his second qualifying time on Saturday evening. He won the men’s 400m Individual Medley posting a time of 4:16.07 with Michael Meyer touching the wall one second later, to bag the silver medal in 4:19.48 and Jarryd Baxter taking third place in 4:26.92.
Swimming legend Roland Schoeman confirmed his status as sprint king as he won the 50m freestyle in 22.50 seconds. Douglas Erasmus finished in second place in a time of 22.93 with Shaun Harris shortly on his heels in 22.96.
Martin Binedell, part of Team South Africa at the African Union Region 5 Games in Zimbabwe late last year, won a close tussle with Ricky Ellis in the men’s 200m backstroke in a time of 2:00.79, Ellis posted a time of 2:01.71 as Darren Murray took third spot on the podium in 2:04.59.
In the women’s 400m Individual Medley title belonged to Rene Warnes as she touched first in 4:49.04. She proved to be faster than Kirsty McLauchlan, who clocked 4:51.22 and Kate Beavon with 4:58.69.
Erin Gallagher was crowned 100m freestyle champion in a time of 56.46 seconds as she comfortably beat Marlies Ross and Jessica Ashley Cooper for the title. Ross touched second in a time of 57.34 with Ashley Cooper third in 57.96. In the women’s 50m butterfly Vanessa Mohr was on top will three a time of 27.29 seconds.Second to the wall was Hannah McLean-Leonard in 28.40 and Bailey Desmarais third in 28.56.
Tatjana Schoenmaker clinched the women’s 200m breaststroke title in 2:29.23 with Kaylene Corbett grabbing silver in 2:31.31 with Kelly Gunnell having to be content with third place in a time of 2:32.27.
In the women’s 4 x100m Medley relays Northern Tigers proved to be the champions as they clinched the gold medal in 4:1204 (Karin Prinsloo, Tatjana Schoenmaker, Vanessa Mohr, Marlies Ross).
Taking the silver medal was Western Province Aquatics posting a time of 4:20.36 (Janneke Malan, Hanim Abrahams, Jessica Ashley Cooper, Trudi Maree) and bagging the bronze medal was KwaZulu Natal Aquatics (Jamie Reynolds, Emily Visagie, Hannah McLean Leonard, Erin Gallagher) posting 4:25.53.
In the men’s 4x100m Medley relays KwaZulu-Natal were the champions, clocking 3:46.04 (Clayton Jimmie, Ayrton Sweeney, Myles Brown, Calvyn Justus).
In second place was Northern Tigers clocking 3:49.47 (Neil de Villiers, Marko Visser, George Du Rand, Nico Meyer) and coming in third was the Northern Tigers B Team (Martin Binedell, Jarred Crous, Ryan Coetzee, Erasmus Douglas) posting 3:49.47 to bag the bronze medal.
2015 FINA World Championships Qualifiers:
Myles Brown – 200m, 400m amp 800m Freestyle
Cameron van der Burgh – 100m amp 200m Breaststroke
Ayrton Sweeney – 200m Breaststroke
Chad le Clos – 100m amp 200m Butterfly, 200m Freestyle amp 200m Individual Medley,
Sebastien Rousseau – 200m Butterfly amp 400m Individual Medley
2015 IPC World Championships Qualifiers (Glasgow, Scotland 13 -19 July 2015)
Johann van Heerden
Hendrik van der Merwe
Source : South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee