DURBAN, South Africa, April 10. CHAD Le Clos was a double winner tonight at the South African nationals, taking the gold in sprint and distance events. Sebastien Rousseau also got his name on the Commonwealth Games roster with a runner-up finish in the 400 IM final.
Women 100 fly final
Marne Erasmus continued to improve through the rounds of the 100 fly, going under 1:00 for the third time with a 59.43 to win the event. Vanessa Mohr joined Erasmus under the barrier with a 59.92 for second. The two were well ahead of the field, with Rene Warnes took third with a 1:02.26.
Men 50 breast semifinals
Cameron van der Burgh and Giulio Zorzi, the reigning gold and bronze medalists from the world championships, will go into tomorrow’s final as the top two seeds. Van der Burgh posted a 27.05 while Zorzi swam a 27.85. As was the case with the 100 breast yesterday, van der Burgh finds himself second in the global standings behind Christian Sprenger, who has a 26.74 on the books from last week’s Australian nationals. Van der Burgh will have an opportunity to dip under the 27-second barrier in tomorrow’s final. Jared Pike goes in third for finals with a 28.61.
Women 50 back semifinals
Jessica Ashley-Cooper qualified first with a 29.19, with Jamie Reynolds second with a 29.98 as the only two under 30 seconds today. Lehesta Kemp was almost under the mark with a 30.02 to qualify third for the final.
Men 100 free final
Chad Le Clos showed off some new sprint speed with a 49.38 to win the 100 free final today. The time won’t give Le Clos the chance to continue South Africa’s rich tradition in the 100 free internationally, as he fell four tenths short of the automatic qualifying standard for the Commonwealth Games. Le Clos was the only swimmer under 50 seconds, as Brett Walsh claimed second with a 50.17. Leith Shankland captured third place with a 50.23.
Women 100 breast semifinals
Franko Jonker and Tara Nicholas swam stroke for stroke in the 100 breast final, never more than a few hundredths apart through the race. Jonker got the win with a 1:09.02, with Nicholas second in 1:09.05. Making a charge in the final 50 was Justine Macfarlane, who was third with a 1:09.33.
Men 100 back semifinals
Charl Crous is on the cusp of earning selection to the Commonwealth Games team, swimming a 54.90 in semis today. That’s half a second slower than the standard set by South Africa, and could set up a strong South African medley relay if he gets the nod to race in Scotland. Ricky Ellis qualified second with a 55.34 and Darren Murray will be the third seed for the final with a 55.40.
Women 50 free semifinals
Trudi Maree is also on the verge of getting on the Commonwealth Games team, posting a 25.66 in the 50 free to qualify first for tomorrow’s final. The standard to reach is 25.34 for placement on the international racing squad. Kemp and Ashley-Cooper will race in another 50-meter final tomorrow, with Kemp qualifying second with a 26.12 ahead of the 26.33 by Ashley-Cooper.
Men 100 fly semifinals
With a 400 IM final coming up shortly after the 100 fly semifinal, world champion Chad Le Clos did all that was needed to get a lane in tomorrow’s 100 fly final, qualifying seventh with a 55.85. Nico Meyer will be the top seed in tomorrow’s race, thanks to his 54.80. Joshua Steyn (54.84) and Ryan Coetzee (55.02) rounded out the top three qualifiers.
Men 400 IM final
Le Clos returned to post a 4:14.81 in the 400 IM, returning to racing in the event after placing fifth in the 2012 Olympics. That’ll stand sixth in the world right now, but second among Commonwealth swimmers, with Thomas Fraser-Holmes’ 4:10.68 well ahead of Le Clos. Sebastien Rousseau, who endured illness in his final NCAA championships, got on the Commonwealth Games squad with a 4:18.17, beating the cut by eight tenths. Ayrton Sweeney was third with a 4:19.77. Michael Meyer, who also swam at the NCAA championships, was a distant fourth with a 4:27.04.
Women 800 free final
Michelle Weber put together a strong 800 free to win the national title with an 8:46.16, with Caitlin Kat taking second in 8:49.23. Kyna Pereira was third in 8:58.12.
Men 800 free final
Brent Szurdoki won the 800 free final, an event not used to select swimmers for the Commonwealth Games, with an 8:11.42. Danie Marais finished second with an 8:19.37, while Matthew Meyer finished third in 8:21.93.
Women 200 free relay final
Maree and Kemp took another run at getting a qualifying time in the 50 free, with Maree just a hundredth faster in her leadoff leg than her semifinal swim with a 25.65. Kemp was a little bit slower with a 26.26. Maree’s swim helped Northern Tigers win the relay with a 1:45.66, while Kemp’s Western Province Aquatics was second with a 1:46.48. KwaZulu Natal took third in 1:47.20.
Men 200 free relay final
KwaZulu Natal won the men’s sprint relay with a 1:29.81. Brad Tandy swam leadoff on that relay, but split times were not immediately available. Northern Tigers’ A team took second with a 1:30.31, with the B team third in 1:31.62.
Eighteen-year-old Ethan Paulse won the 100 fly for the S14/S15 division over 35-year-old Paralympic medalist Craig Groenewald, who was second in 1:04.93. In the S1-S13 event, Achmat Hassiem took another title with a time of 1:00.03.
Cornell Loubser dominated the women’s 100 fly in the S14/S15 bracket with a 1:10.16, while Adri Visser took the S1-S13 division with a 2:10.01 that gave her the gold medal ahead of the 1:31.85 posted by Alani Ferreira.