Photo by Joao Marc Bosch
PIETERMARITZBURG, Arizona, August 10. SOME of South Africa’s best swimmers couldn’t take a break right after the Commonwealth Games, as they had to return home to qualify for the short course world championships at their short course nationals.
The most notable absences were Roland Schoeman and Dylan Bosch, both of whom might have qualified easily. Bosch is likely skipping short course worlds to focus on training for the collegiate season in the United States for the University of Michigan.
The rest of the country’s famous names put up times that got them on the short course worlds team, which will compete in Doha, Qatar, in December. The times from the meet did not approach national records or threaten to lead the world when the short course season officially starts this fall.
The only exception to a national record scare came from Karin Prinsloo, who posted a 1:56.93 in the 200 free. That almost took down Helene Muller’s 1:56.78 from 2007. Prinsloo set a few long course records in April at the long course championships to help qualify her for the Commonwealth Games. Prinsloo will also swim in the 100 back and 400 free in Qatar. She was second in the 100 back with a 1:00.04 to Jessica Ashley’s 59.32.
FINA only allows two swimmers per country in each event at the short course world championships, and a couple of swimmers found themselves under the qualifying time but in the dreaded third-place position. Leith Shankland swam a 1:44.97 in the men’s 200 free, behind the 1:43.95 by winner Myles Brown and Chad Le Clos’ 1:44.07. Michael Meyer, an incoming senior at the University of Arizona, was third in a 200 fly race that featured winner Chad Le Clos (1:53.42) and Sebastien Rousseau (1:54.55).
Shankland also missed out on automatic qualifying for the 100 free by two hundredths of a second with a 48.56, but might get an invite in that and the 100 IM. Though South Africa did not post qualifying times for the 100 IM, Shankland posted a respectable 54.40 behind winner Sebastien Rousseau’s 53.72.
Meyer will swim the 200 IM and 400 IM in Doha after winning the 200 IM in 1:56.94 and placing second to Rousseau in the 400 IM with a 4:07.31 to Rousseau’s 4:06.78. Rousseau also got a berth in the 200 fly with his runner-up time of 1:54.55 to Le Clos’ 1:53.42.
After about a year after stating he plans to race the 200 breaststroke internationally, Cameron Van Der Burgh finally raced in the longer event and won with a 2:06.42 to get the opportunity to swim it in Qatar. As expected, Van der Burgh also won the 50 breast (26.72) and 100 breast (57.74) ahead of 50 breast worlds bronze medalist Giulio Zorzi, who will join Van der Burgh at worlds. Van der Burgh won the 50 and 100 breaststrokes at the 2010 worlds and skipped the 2012 edition after winning Olympic gold in the 100 breast.
In addition to swimming in the 200 free and 200 fly, Le Clos qualified for the 100 butterfly in an attempt to defend that short course world title and reclaim his world title in the 200 that he won in 2010.
Following is the list of remaining qualifiers for the short course world championships:
Stephen Coetzer: 100 and 200 backstroke
Myles Brown: 400 and 1500 freestyle
Troy Prinsloo: 1500 freestyle
Brad Tandy: 50 freestyle
Luke Pendock: 50 freestyle
Rene Warnes: 200 butterfly and 400 individual medley
Jessica Ashley: 100 individual medley and 100 backstroke
Tatjana Schoeman: 100 and 200 breaststroke
Tara Nicholas: 100 breaststroke
Emily Visaje: 200 breaststroke
Lehesta Kemp: 50 freestyle