DURBAN, South Africa, April 15. THE fourth night is in the bag at the South African Long Course Nationals held in Durban with a handful of top times in the world from the field of competitors including another Paralympic world record from Natalie Du Toit.
Riaan Schoeman won the men's 400 IM title in a swift time of 4:14.80. That performance improved his position in the world rankings to second. Only Roberto Pavoni has been faster this year with a 4:14.55 from last month in Great Britain. Chad Le Clos finished second in 4:19.14 to move into the top 10 in the world rankings, while Jonathan Hill rounded out the top three tonight with a 4:28.50.
Wendy Trott claimed the women's 800 free title in 8:27.11 to become the fourth-fastest in the world this year. Rebecca Adlington (8:21.95), Katie Goldman (8:22.83) and Blair Evans (8:25.74) are the only other swimmers ahead of her in the event so far. Paralympian Natalie Du Toit finished second in 8:59.09, while Rene' Warnes took third in 8:59.51.
According to a Swimming South Africa report, Du Toit has been lighting up the Paralympic world record books during the meet:
Natalie Du Toit is simply unstoppable. The multiple Paralympic Gold Medalist and World Record Holder won her 6th Gold Medal tonight and then set another World Record at the Telkom SA National Aquatic Championships. Natalie touched the wall in 1:08.58 in the 100m Butterfly, well inside the required 1.10.98. She then went on to break her own 800m Freestyle World Record in the same race that Wendy Trott set yet another A-Qualifying time for the Commonwealth Games. Du Toit had set the previous record in April 2004 when she clocked 9.01.41. Tonight she became the first Paralympic swimmer in the S9 category to break the 9min mark clocking 8:59.09 for second overall behind Trott.
Faroe Islands' Pal Joensen cleared 8:00 in the men's 800 free with a winning time of 7:58.95. The man from the tiny country that has a population standing at less than 50,000 people, continues to impress. Chad Ho placed second in 8:09.04, while John Ellis took third in 8:14.99.
Mandy Loots captured the women's 100 fly title in 59.71, while Vanessa Mohr placed a distant second in 1:02.18. Bianca Meyer finished third overall in 1:02.68. Roland Schoeman followed with a winning effort of 49.51 in the men's 100 free. Gideon Louw (49.62) and Graeme Moore (49.99) cleared 50 seconds to complete the podium.
Cameron van der Burgh cruised into the top spot in the men's 50 breast finale with a semifinal time of 28.02. Donaven van der Merwe touched a bit back of van der Burgh with a second-seeded time of 28.48. Chanelle Van Wyk followed in the women's 50 back semis with a top qualifying time of 29.05. Karin Prinsloo qualified second in 29.60.
Ronwyn Roper led a trio of swimmers into the 1:12s in the women's 100 breast with a 1:12.39. Taryn Mackenzie (1:12.58) and Marguerite Van Zyl (1:12.80) also qualified for the finale with 1:12 efforts. Charl Van Zyl led the way in the men's 100 back semis with a 55.20. Darren Murray (55.91) and Gerhard Zandberg (56.08) will bracket him in the finale.
Prinsloo earned her second finals spot tomorrow with a 26.28 to lead the way in the women's 50 free semifinal round. Liezl Burger took second in qualifying with a 26.91. Darian Townsend paced the men's 100 fly semis with a 53.88. Garth Tune (54.16) and Heinri Alberts (54.40) qualified second and third.
In the other multi-disability event this evening, Achmat Hassiem was listed first in the men's 100 fly with a 1:01.92.