DURBAN, South Africa, October 17. THE first session of action came to a conclusion at the Durban, South Africa stop of the FINA World Cup circuit. The competition is the second stop of the seven-meet series.
Men's 100 freestyle
Darian Townsend of South Africa dominated the preliminary session with a time of 48.20 for the top seed. World-record holder Stefan Nystrand of Sweden finished second in 48.99, while Australia's Kyle Richardson took third in 49.14.
Kicker Vencill of the U.S. placed fourth in 49.42, while South Africa's Wesley Gilchrist (49.43) and Switzerland's Gregor Widmer (49.56) touched fifth and sixth. Germany's Felix Wolf (50.02) and South Africa's Greg Kieck (50.05) completed the top eight.
The sprint freestyle events lost some of their luster when it was announced prior to the meet that Roland Schoeman canceled his participation due to a back injury.
Women's 200 freestyle
Sweden's Josefin Lillhage paced the field with a time of 2:00.81, while New Zealand's Melissa Ingram (2:01.67) and South Africa's Melissa Corfe (2:02.07) made up the top three.
South Africa's Jessica Pengelly (2:02.35), Roxanne Tammadge (2:05.21) and Liezl Burger (2:05.54) took fourth through sixth, while Germany's Lena Celina Hiller (2:06.83) and South Africa's Megan Stephens (2:07.60) rounded out the finale.
Men's 50 breaststroke
African-record holder Cameron van der Burgh earned the top seed with a time of 27.07 in the sprint breast event. Australia's Christian Sprenger, who leads the pack in the overall points standings after the first stop, took second in 27.31. Brazil's Felipe Lima finished third in 27.45, while Ukraine's Igor Borysik placed fourth in 28.02.
Brazil's Felipe Santos (28.17), South Africa's Donaven van der Merwe (28.19), South Africa's Thabang Moeketsane (28.23) and Germany's Marco Koch (28.33) grabbed the final transfer spots to finals.
Women's 100 breaststroke
Finals will look almost like the South African Short Course Championships as seven of the eight top spots went to the host country.
Suzaan van Biljon (1:09.36), Courtnay Mower (1:09.89), Taryn Mackenzie (1:12.62), Jeanie Du Toit (1:13.00), Jean-Marie Neethling (1:13.68), Yolandi van der Merwe (1:13.78) and Samantha Dry (1:13.85) took first through seventh for South Africa. Zimbabwe's Maxine Heard (1:15.16) placed eighth.
Men's 400 IM slower seeds
It was all South Africa in the slower heat. William Smith (4:37.15) posted the top time, while Ruan Bester (4:39.64), Melvin Nel (4:47.36) and Marco La Grange (4:48.88) placed second through fourth.
Women's 100 butterfly
Early overall World Cup points leader Marieke Guehrer of Australia topped the field in the 100 fly with a time of 59.69, the only sub-minute readout of the morning.
South Africa's Mandy Loots took second in 1:01.00, while Australia's Jacqueline Staples finished third in 1:02.40.
South Africa's Chanelle Van Wyk placed fourth in 1:03.00, while Germany's Lena Celina Hiller (1:04.22) and South Africa's Jessica Ashley-Cooper (1:04.49) touched fifth and sixth. South Africa's Amy Lombard (1:04.77) and Tracy Randlehoff (1:05.05) made up the rest of the finale.
Men's 100 backstroke
George Du Rand of South Africa broke the African record in the men's 100 back with a time of 51.50. That performance eclipsed the 51.89 set by Gerhard Zandberg also of South Africa at the 2008 World Short Course Championships.
Russia's Evgeny Aleshin placed a distant second in 53.11, while Peter Marshall of the U.S. touched third in 53.56. Brazil's Daniel Orzechowski (54.15) and South Africa's Garth Tune (54.21) placed fourth and fifth, while 2007 World Cup Champion Randall Bal of the U.S. qualified sixth in 54.23.
Germany's Felix Wolf (54.90) and Russia's Artem Dubovskoy (55.02) finished seventh and eighth.
Women's 50 backstroke
Brazil's Fabiola Molina claimed the top seed in the sprint back with a time of 28.23, while South Africa's Yolana Du Plessis (28.55) and Chanelle Van Wyk (28.81) finished second and third.
Australia's Sophie Edington (29.09) took fourth, while South Africa dominated the rest of the championship eight with Jessica Ashley-Cooper (29.24), Tannith Prout (29.26), Daniella Lushington (30.05) and Bianca Cant (30.25) rounded out the top eight.
Men's 200 butterfly
South Africa's Sebastien Rousseau paced the field in 1:59.61 with Russia's Maxim Ganikhin not far behind in 1:59.89.
Sweden's Simon Sjodin finished third in 2:00.30, while South Africa claimed the rest of the transfer spots as Wesley Gilchrist (2:00.38), George Du Rand (2:00.82), Jasper Venter (2:02.10), Marius Hattingh (2:02.97) and Heinrich Alberts (2:04.12) completed the championship finale.
Women's 200 IM
South Africa picked up seven of the top eight spots. Jessica Pengelly (2:16.83), Mandy Loots (2:18.02) and Kathryn Meaklim (2:19.96) finished 1-3, while Jean-Marie Neethling (2:22.33), Yolandi van der Merwe (2:23.35), Courtnay Mower (2:24.18) and Petra Tovrloza (2:24.40) touched fifth through eighth for the hosts.
Australia's Jacqueline Staples provided the only international flavor to the finale with a fourth-place 2:21.02.
Men's 400 freestyle
Olympic gold medalist Ous Mellouli of Tunisia topped the mid-distance affair with a time of 3:52.15, while South Africa's Jay-Cee Thompson finished a close second in 3:52.39.
South African compatriots Heerden Herman (3:52.70), Riaan Schoeman (3:56.62), John Ellis (3:57.29), Chad Ho (3:59.85), Henri Schoeman (4:04.05) and James Faure (4:04.28) made up the rest of the top eight.
Women's 50 freestyle
Sweden's Therese Alshammar, the 2007 World Cup Champion, took the morning preliminary round with a time of 24.92. She edged 2008 World Cup points leader Marieke Guehrer of Australia (25.39).
Sweden's Josefin Lillhage placed third in 25.78, while South Africans comprised the rest of the championship spots. Liezl Burger (26.09), Tamlin Crafford (26.59), Bianca Cant (26.70), Janke Engelbrecht (26.74) and Chanelle Van Wyk (26.87) placed fourth through eighth.
Men's 200 breaststroke
Germany's Marco Koch led the way in the 200 breast with a time of 2:11.56, while Australia's Christian Sprenger placed second in 2:12.34. Ukraine's Igor Borysik touched third in 2:13.06 to help set up one of the most international finals of the day.
South Africa's William Diering (2:14.45), Brazil's Thiago Parravicini (2:16.00), South Africa's Kyle Duckitt (2:16.45), Russia's Sergey Geybel (2:18.00) and South Africa's Chris Langley (2:19.26) rounded out the top eight.
Men's 100 IM
South Africa's Darian Townsend topped another field, this time clocking a first-place 55.08 in the sprint medley competition. Countryman Wesley Gilchrist finished second in 55.66, while Australia's Kyle Richardson placed third in 56.53.
Germany's Yannick Lebherz touched fourth in 56.65, while Ous Mellouli of Tunisia finished fifth in 57.01. South Africa's Kyle Mac Millan (57.22), Germany's Marco Koch (57.57) and South Africa's Cameron van der Burgh (57.73) completed the championship finale.
Women's 200 backstroke
South Africa went 1-2-3 in the 200 back as Melissa Corfe (2:11.62), Tannith Prout (2:12.33) and Jessica Pengelly (2:14.79) claimed the top spots.
New Zealand's Melissa Ingram (2:15.04) and Australia's Sophie Edington (2:16.65) placed fourth and fifth, while South Africa took the rest of the transfer slots with Jessica Ashley-Cooper (2:17.20), Rene Warnes (2:18.87) and Kathryn Baumann (2:18.87) wrapping up the finale.
Men's 50 butterfly
South Africa's Neil Watson (23.76) and Garth Tune (24.13) along with Peter Marshall of the U.S. (24.13) made up the top three in the sprint fly.
South Africa's Darian Townsend finished fourth in 24.41, while Russia's Maxim Ganikhin took fifth in 24.64. South African completed the rest of the championship eight as George Du Rand (24.67), Rohan Jacobs (24.77) and Donaven van der Merwe (25.01) all advanced.