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DURBAN, South Africa, October 16. THE 2009 FINA World Cup series opened with three national records falling during the first day of prelims at the short course meters meet held in Durban.
Serbia's Nadja Higl, Argentina's Federica Grabich and South Africa's Chanelle Van Wyk each took down a national record.
Women's 800 free slower seeds
The meet kicked off with the slower seeds of the women's 800 free timed finals. Singapore's Chriselle Koh Wyn Jia set the time to beat with a 9:04.34. South Africa's Kira Hauptfleisch placed second with a time of 9:06.00, while Lindsay McLeod wound up third in 9:14.54.
Men's 100 free
Sweden's Stefan Nystrand led the way in the men's 100 free prelims with a top time of 47.20. Germany's Steffen Deibler checked in with a 47.99, while Russia's Sergey Fesikov touched third in 48.03.
Brazil's Guilherme Roth-Santos wound up fourth in 48.10, while Argentina's Federico Grabich finished fifth in 48.11.
South Africa's Darian Townsend (48.35), Switzerland's Dominik Meichtry (48.39) and South Africa's Lyndon Ferns (48.40) completed the top eight.
Notably, South Africa's Roland Schoeman (48.66), Australia's Ashley Delaney (48.66), United States' Sabir Muhammad (48.75) and Austria's Markus Rogan (48.89) finished outside the final field.
Women's 200 free
Australia's Felicity Galvez outclassed the field in the morning en route to a 1:59.69, the lone swimmer to break 2:00 during qualifying. South Africa's Megan Stephens (2:02.99), Jessica Pengelly (2:03.05) and Kayla Ferreira (2:03.10) completed the top four.
Zimbabwe's Kirsten Lapham claimed fifth overall in 2:03.50, while South Africans Brittney Cameron (2:03.84), Nina Nicholas (2:04.06) and Rene Warnes (2:05.36) rounded out the finale field.
Men's 50 breast
The men's sprint breast finale should be a fun one with world record holder Cameron van der Burgh lining up next to fellow South African Neil Versfeld after claiming the top seed in prelims, 26.36 to 26.75. Both are among the top 10 times posted this year.
Brazil's Eduardo Fischer clocked in at 27.17, closing in on his national record of 26.73, while South Africa's Gerhard Zandberg placed fourth in 27.22. Germany's Hendrik Feldwehr touched fifth in 27.48.
South Africa's Thabang Moeketsane (27.59), Roland Schoeman (27.66) and Christopher Langley (27.82) also made finals.
Women's 100 breast
With Leisel Jones checking out of this stop of the World Cup due to illness, the potential showdown with Jessica Hardy will have to wait. Germany's Caroline Ruhnau topped all qualifiers with a 1:06.66. That performance came up a bit short of Sarah Poewe's national record of 1:06.02.
Sweden's Joline Hostman placed second in 1:07.01, while Germany's Kersin Vogel claimed third in 1:07.08. Hardy eased through prelims with a fourth-place 1:07.85, while Serbia's Nadja Higl broke her Serbian record with a 1:08.08. That swim beat her 1:10.41 set back at the 2008 World Short Course Championships.
South Africa's Ronwyn Roper (1:09.06), Taryn MacKenzie (1:09.73) and Keri Plumstead (1:09.98) completed the top eight.
Men's 400 IM slower seed
Yes, that's right. Slower seed. In a one-man race, South Africa's Marco La Grange clocked a 4:50.85 as the only person swimming outside of the top eight seeds in timed finals of the distance medley.
Women's 100 fly
It took a sub-minute time to make finals with Sweden's Therese Alshammar pacing the field with a 58.34. Austalia's Felicity Galvez (58.40) and Marieke Guehrer (58.54) finished second and third, while Sweden's Sarah Sjostrom touched fourth in 58.86.
South Africa's Amanda Loots posted a fifth-place time of 58.97 with Whitney Myers of the U.S. qualifying sixth in 59.26. The Netherlands' Inge Dekker (59.61) and South Africa's Chanelle Van Wyk (59.89) also earned spots in finals.
Men's 100 back
Austria's Markus Rogan blistered the preliminary round with a 50.75, just missing his national record of 50.61 set at the 2008 World Short Course Championships. Australia's Ashley Delaney finished second overall in 52.10, while Russia's Stanislav Donets posted a third-place 52.15.
Peter Marshall of the U.S. touched fourth in 52.22 with South Africans George Du Rand (52.52), Gerhard Zandberg (52.57) and Garth Tune (52.70) placing fifth through seventh. Argentina's Federico Grabich lowered Pablo Martin Abal's 2000 national record of 53.40 with a 52.76 during qualifying.
Women's 50 back
Australia's Marieke Guehrer turned in a 27.22 to earn the top seed heading into finals of the sprint back event. The Netherlands' Hinkelien Schreuder qualified second in 27.40, while South Africa's Chanelle Van Wyk lowered her national record with a third-place 27.67. That swim cleared her 27.78 set in August in Pietermaritzburg.
Brazil's Fabiola Molina placed fourth in 27.76, while Lara Jackson of the U.S. took fifth overall in 27.78.
South Africans Daniella Lushington (29.00), Jessica Ashley-Cooper (29.13) and Bianca Cant (29.61) made up the rest of the championship field.
Men's 200 fly
South Africa's Chad Le Clos easily qualified first with a time of 1:56.09 to close in on Sebastien Rousseau's national record of 1:55.73 set in 2008. Teammate Wesley Gilchrist finished second in 1:57.08, while Russia's Maxim Ganikhin took third in 1:59.78. South Africa's Marius Hattingh completed the top four in 1:59.98.
Argentina's Gaston Rodriguez placed fifth in 2:00.01, while South Africa's Martin Vogel earned sixth in 2:01.19. South Africa's Justin Kermack (2:02.16) and Dylan Bosch (2:03.02) also claimed spots in the finale.
Women's 200 IM
Whitney Myers of the U.S. claimed the top seed in the event with a time of 2:12.69, while Argentina's Georgina Bardach clocked a second-place time of 2:13.33. South Africa's Bianca Meyer took third in 2:13.50 with teammate Amanda Loots placing fourth in 2:14.22.
South Africans Jessica Pengelly (2:15.39), Ronwyn Roper (2:15.62) and Kathryn Meaklim (2:16.45) wound up finishing fifth through seventh, while Argentina's Virginia Bardach grabbed the final transfer spot with an eighth-place 2:17.83.
Men's 400 free
South Africa nearly swept the top eight spots in the middle distance event. Jay-Cee Thompson took first in 3:49.98 with Heerden Herman finishing second in 3:51.56. Switzerland's Dominik Meichtry wound up third in 3:52.55.
South Africans Michael Meyer (3:53.07), Riaan Schoeman (3:53.23), Marco Husselmann (3:54.56), Frank Greeff (3:55.01) and Nicholas Kieck (3:57.05) also claimed spots in the final field.
Women's 50 free
The Netherlands went 1-3-7 in the sprint free event with Hinkelien Schreuder topping qualifying with a 24.05. Teammate Ranomi Kromowidjojo placed third in 24.23, while Inge Dekker took seventh in 24.59.
Lara Jackson (24.21) and Jessica Hardy (24.46) of the U.S. finished second and fifth, with Sweden's Therese Alshammar placing fourth in 24.34.
Australia's Marieke Guehrer (24.47) and South Africa's Karin Prinsloo (25.47) took sixth and eighth to round out the top eight.
Men's 200 breast
In another near finale sweep, South Africa claimed seven of the top eight spots in the event. Terence Parkin paced the field with a 2:10.22, while William Diering took second in 2:11.31. Neil Versfeld (2:11.62) and Ashley Oliver (2:11.68) cleared 2:12 to take third and fourth.
South Africans Kyle Duckitt (2:12.35), Cheyne Fisher (2:13.39) and Christopher Langley (2:16.31) touched fifth, sixth and eighth, while Brazil's Eduardo Fischer placed seventh in 2:14.96.
Men's 100 IM
South Africa's Darian Townsend claimed the top seed with a 53.69, while Austria's Markus Rogan scared his national record in the sprint medley with a second-place 53.76. Russia's Sergey Fesikov placed third in 53.78.
South Africa's Gerhard Zandberg took fourth in 54.02, while William Gilchrist touched fifth in 55.56. Murray McDougall (55.74) and Kyle Mac Millan (56.43) of South Africa took sixth and seventh, while South Africa's Rohan Jacobs placed eighth in 57.04.
Women's 200 back
Whitney Myers of the U.S. cruised in prelims with a top time of 2:08.91, while South Africa's Amanda Loots took a distant second in 2:11.21. Fellow South Africans Jessica Pengelly (2:12.46), Jessica Ashley-Cooper (2:12.84) and Natasha De Vos (2:15.17) qualified third through fifth.
Brazil's Fabiola Molina touched sixth in 2:15.21, while South Africans Tanya Bouffe (2:16.22) and Leanne van der Merwe (2:16.47) claimed seventh and eighth.
Men's 50 fly
South Africa's Roland Schoeman set up what is likely to be an exciting finale with a 22.86. The swim just missed his national record of 22.74 set September 2008. Germany's Steffen Deibler placed second in 23.24, while South Africa's Garth Tune took third in 23.33.
South Africa's Lyndon Ferns (23.50), United States' Sabir Muhammad (23.54), Russia's Evgeny Korotyshkin (23.70), Brazil's Guilherme Roth-Santos (23.73) and South Africa's Neil Watson (24.20) also will compete for the sprint fly title.