DURBAN, South Africa, April 16. THE initial day of Olympic qualifying kicked off at the South African Long Course Nationals being held in Durban.
Chad Le Clos improved upon his FINA A cut time of 4:14.93 from the South African International Invitational with from January with a winning time of 4:13.86 to secure his spot on the Olympic roster. That swim pushed him to 10th in the world, and nearly bettered Le Clos' lifetime best of 4:13.25 from the 2010 Commonwealth Games. Riaan Schoeman placed second in 4:15.60, besting his 4:16.02 from earlier in the year and giving South Africa its second Olympic competitor in the event. Michael Meyer finished third in 4:16.42, clipping the FINA A standard of 4:16.46, but remaining on the outside looking in for an Olympic spot.
Heerden Herman won the men's 400 free in 3:48.57, just clipping the FINA A cut of 3:48.92 to earn his way onto the Olympic team. Myles Brown (3:51.70) and Mark Randall (3:53.29) placed second and third in the event, while Jean Basson scratched prelims after posting a 3:58.15.
Kathryn Meaklim cruised to victory in the women's 400 IM with a 4:37.70, besting the FINA A cut of 4:41.75, and guaranteeing her an Olympic berth. The swim jumped her to 11th in the world rankings thus far this year. Jessica Pengelly finished second in 4:46.47, outside of an Olympic qualifying bid, while Wendy Trott rounded out the podium with a third-place time of 4:47.11.
Challis Wright was listed first in the men's 100 back with a 1:11.07, while Martyn Groenewald was listed second in 1:11.17. Brazil's Daniel Dias competed in the event and nearly lowered his world record of 1:16.40 in the S5 division with a 1:16.80. Yvonne Smith was listed first in the women's 100 back with a 1:25.01, while Shireen Sapiro (1:10.70) and Natalie Du Toit (1:14.78) also competed in their divisions. Division designations were unavailable.
Mandy Loots led the way in the women's 100 fly semis with a 59.44 — the lone sub-1:00 time of qualifying in the event. Vanessa Mohr (1:00.80) and Marne Erasmus (1:01.12) finished second and third in semis to bracket Loots in the finale.
Cameron van der Burgh raced to the top seed in the men's 100 breast with a 1:00.36. That swim pushed him to seventh in the world rankings, and ahead of the FINA A cut of 1:00.79. Neil Versfeld finished second in 1:01.79, while Rory Buck took third in 1:02.36.