DURBAN, South Africa, April 8. THE second day of the South African long course nationals featured many of the country’s top stars, but only one race had swimmers fighting for spots on the Commonwealth Games team.
Women 50 fly final
Though South Africa is not selecting swimmers to the Commonwealth Games team in the finals of the 50s of butterfly, backstroke and breaststroke, many swimmers are racing hard for national titles. Vanessa Mohr captured the sprint fly title with a 27.15 over the 27.22 by Jessica Ashley-Cooper and the 27.36 posted by Marne Erasmus for third place.
Men 50 back final
Gerhard Zandberg, who announced his retirement last fall after disagreements with the national federation, returned to competition to take the 50 backstroke national title today with a 25.30. It’s well off his national record of 24.34 from the 2009 world championships, but was good enough for the win. Ricky Ellis took second with a 25.52 and Charl Crous was third in 25.64.
Women 50 breast final
Tara Nicholas remained the only swimmer under 32 seconds in the 50 breast, taking the title in 31.86 after a 31.95 in semifinals. Franko Jonker took second with a 32.16 and Justine Macfarlane was third with a 32.42.
Men 50 fly semifinals
Roland Schoeman, a two-time world champion in the 50 fly, dominated the event today with a 23.07. Notably, he won the 2007 world title with a 23.18 and the 2005 title in 22.96. Chad Le Clos could crank up the speed in tomorrow’s final after qualifying second with a 24.42, and Brett Walsh was third overall with a 24.53.
Men 100 breast semifinals
World record holder Cameron van der Burgh will be gunning for Christian Sprenger’s world-leading 58.87 from last week’s Australian nationals, and did just enough to get through semifinals with a 1:00.98 to put him ninth in the world rankings. The race for second might include Jared Pike, who qualified second for the final with a 1:02.40, and Marko Visser, who was third in 1:02.67.
Women 100 free semifinal
Karin Prinsloo is knocking on the door of adding the 100 free to her schedule at the Commonwealth Games, posting a 55.19 in tonight’s semifinal to lead qualifying. The South African time standard is 54.86, and she’ll need to swim that time tomorrow to add it to an international racing program that already includes the 200 free. Erin Gallagher was second with a 56.88, while Trudi Maree was third with a 56.89.
Men 200 free final
This final featured some of the country’s best mid-distance freestylers fighting not only for the opportunity to swim the 200 free individually at the Commonwealth Games, but to give South Africa a good 800 free relay. Chad Le Clos won the final with a 1:48.43, just missing the automatic qualifying standard by one hundredth of a second. With Le Clos already selected for the team in the 200 fly, he is likely to get the chance to swim the 200 free in Scotland as well.
The second- and third-place finishers are already on the Commonwealth Games team as well, and might get to swim the event this summer. Myles Brown, the 400 free winner, placed second with a 1:49.31, while Dylan Bosch took third in 1:49.36.
Women 100 back semifinals
Prinsloo doubled up tonight with a 1:01.58 to cruise through the 100 back semis. She’ll need a 1:01.39 to add a possible third event to her lineup. Ashley-Cooper posted a 1:02.04 for second, while Nathania Van Niekerk was third with a 1:03.45.
Women 1500 free final
Michelle Weber wrapped up the session with a 16:44.62 to win the mile by 26 seconds. Carmen Le Roux was second with a 17:10.38 while Tasmine Tennant was third with a 17:22.27.
Mark Roach won the men’s 50 fly in the S14 and S15 race, posting a 27.00. In the S1-S13 heat, Achmat Hassiem won the sprint fly with a 27.29.
Cornell Loubser took the S14/S15 women’s 50 fly with a 30.59, while Dimakatso Makgaka won the S1-S13 50 fly in 40.69.
Challis Wright took the men’s S14/S15 100 breast in a time of 1:14.86, with Kevin Paul posting a 1:05.94 to win the S1-S15 division. Yvonne Smith’s 1:33.02 was good enough to win the women’s 100 breast in the S14/S15 bracket, while Alani Ferreira won the S1-S13 division with a 1:33.81.