DURBAN, South Africa, April 17. THE final day of activity at the South African Long Course Nationals featured some surprising range within the freestyle events as top-five world ranked times went up in the shortest and longest distances in the men's freestyle competition.
Roland Schoeman cruised to victory in the men's 50 free with a swift outing of 22.04. He nearly became just the third man under 22 seconds this year as only Fred Bousquet (21.71) and Fabien Gilot (21.97) have been faster. Gideon Louw clocked a 22.28 for second to move into 11th in the world rankings, while Graeme Moore placed third in 22.95.
On the other end of the freestyle spectrum, Heerden Herman nearly has as good of a day as Schoeman. He clocked a 15:06.75 in the men's 1500 free to vault into fourth in the world this year. Ryan Cochrane (14:56.83), Robert Hurley (15:00.96) and Sebastien Rouault (15:04.87) are the only other swimmers faster this year. Mark Randall earned second this evening with a 15:09.75 to become the fifth best in the world behind Herman. Pal Joensen of the Faroe Islands touched well behind with a third-place 15:21.84.
Neil Versfeld tripped up Cameron van der Burgh in the men's 200 breast with a 2:11.74. Van der Burgh finished well back in second with a 2:15.49. Versfeld's efforts moved him up to 11th in the world this year. Kyle Duckitt completed the top three in 2:18.30 tonight.
Mandy Loots dominated the women's 200 fly with a top time of 2:12.03. She beat the field by nearly eight seconds. Sarah Kay finished second in 2:20.02, while Megan Stephens took third in 2:23.57.
Wendy Trott moved into the top 20 in the world rankings with a 4:45.80 to win the women's 400 IM. Bianca Meyer finished a distant second in 4:52.17, while Jessica Pengelly placed third in 4:53.36.
In multi-disability events, Kevin Paul and Craig Groenewald were listed first in the men's 200 IM with times of 2:17.47 and 2:23.74. Cornelia Loubser (2:50.13) and Emily Gray (2:54.42) were also listed first in the women's 200 IM.