PIETERMARITZBURG, South Africa, September 9. BEING used as the selection competition for the World Cup circuit and the 2006 World Short Course Championships in Shanghai, the South African Short Course Champs have kicked off. During the first day of action, George du Rand turned in the top swim, a 1:48.68 effort that was good for victory in the 200-meter freestyle.
DuRand is slated to swim nine events at the competition and was joined as a winner by Kathryn Meaklim, who cruised to a dominant triumph in the 400 individual medley (4:45.93). Charne Gehring checked in with a decision in the 200 butterfly, as she clocked 2:13.49, and Wendy Trott bested the field in the 1,500 freestyle, going 16:31.90.
Robin Francis, from Great Britain, added a first-place performance in the men’s 400 I.M. (4:13.97). The meet is missing South Africa’s top stars, Roland Schoeman and Ryk Neethling. Those men, Olympic and World Championship medalists, are expected to carry the nation’s banner at next year’s Commonwealth Games.