South Africa Nationals: Zandberg Returns, Le Clos and Bosch Top Two in 200 Fly

DURBAN, South Africa, April 7. OLYMPIC champion Chad Le Clos faced a challenge from a couple USA-based swimmers tonight at the South African long course nationals as spots on the Commonwealth Games team were on the line in Durban.

Women 200 free final
The night started with Karin Prinsloo earning the first automatic selection to the Commonwealth Games team, winning the 200 free in 1:58.03. That’s seven tenths faster than the qualifying standard set down by Swimming South Africa. Prinsloo, 24, was the only swimmer under two minutes, as Marlies Ross (2:02.06) and Rene Warnes (2:02.30) rounded out the top three.

Men 50 back semifinals
Gerhard Zandberg’s appearance in the 50 backstroke was likely the top headline from the meet today, as the 30-year-old posted a 25.27 to lead qualifying in tomorrow’s final. Zandberg’s participation comes six months after he announced he retired from competitive swimming after conflict with Swimming South Africa over changing rooms at the world championships last summer without previous consent. If Zandberg is considering a return to racing, he will not be able to qualify for the Commonwealth Games team in the 50 back, as the event is not being used for selection. He is entered in the 50 free later in the meet, however. Also making it through the final in second and third position were Ricky Ellis (25.51) and Charl Crous (25.78).

Women 50 fly semifinals
Vanessa Mohr earned the top qualifying time in the 50 fly semifinal, posting a 27.08. Jessica Ashley-Cooper’s 27.38 and Marne Erasmus’ 27.49 rounded out the top three, as well as the only other swims under 28 seconds in the event today.

Men 400 free final
Myles Brown dominated the 400 free final with a winning time of 3:49.05 that automatically qualified him for the Commonwealth Games team. Brown beat the standard by just five tenths of a second. The 21-year-old was sixth in this event at last year’s world championships and could challenge for a medal at the Commonwealth Games. Brent Szurdoki and Calvyn Justus battled for the minor medals, with Szurdoki getting silver with a 3:55.72 to Justus’ 3:55.75.

Women 200 IM final
Ross and Warnes returned to battle in the 200 IM, where the two turned together after backstroke before Ross pulled away with a 39.24 breaststroke split. Warnes came charging back on freestyle with a 31.21 leg that nearly got her the win. Ross took the gold with a 2:15.83 to Warnes’ 2:16.48. Tatjana Schoenmaker was third with a 2:19.86. No one qualified for the Commonwealth Games, with a 2:14.97 required for selection.

Men 200 fly final
Chad Le Clos made his international racing breakthrough in 2010 at the Commonwealth Games in India with a win in the 200 fly, two years before becoming a global star at the Olympics. Le Clos will get the opportunity to defend his title, thanks to a 1:54.56 to win the event easily today. Le Clos did just what was needed to qualify for the roster, with a personal best 1:52.96 from London to his credit. Le Clos’ time today wasn’t far off the 1:54.32 he posted to win the world title last year.

Dylan Bosch, now the fastest 200-yard butterflyer in history after his win at the NCAA championships, also qualified for the Commonwealth Games squad with a 1:56.92, beating the qualifying time of 1:57.03. Sebastien Rousseau, who battled illness at the NCAAs, was third tonight with a 1:58.73.

Women 50 breast semifinals
Tara Nicholas cruised through qualifying for the 50 breast final with a top time of 31.95, while Justine Macfarlane was second in 32.12, and Franko Jonker qualified third with a 32.19.

Men 400 free relay final
KawZulu Natal won the men’s sprint relay with a 3:21.40 over the 3:22.86 posted by Northern Tigers Swimming. The NTS B team placed third with a 3:25.55.

Disability events
Mark Roach posted the fastest time in the men’s 100 backstroke for swimmers in the S14 and S15 division, swimming a 1:05.60. In the race for swimmers in the S1 to S13 classes, Achmatt Hassiem was the quickest with his 1:09.74.

Yvonne Smith won the women’s 100 back for the S14 and S15 classes, putting up a 1:20.95 on the scoreboard. Emily Gray’s 1:18.33 in the 100 back for the S1 to S13 divisions was the fastest in that event.

Results For: South Africa nationals, day 1

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Author: Jeff Commings

Jeff Commings is the host of several shows on SwimmingWorld.TV, including "The Morning Swim Show," which features interviews with people making headlines in aquatic sports. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in journalism and was a nine-time NCAA All-American.

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