South African Long Course Nationals: Cameron van der Burgh Breaks 1:00 in 100 Breast; Two New Swimmers Earn Olympic Bids

DURBAN, South Africa, April 17. AFTER a day in which four swimmers cleared FINA A cuts to earn Olympic spots, two more were able to lock down Olympic bids during day two of the South African Long Course Nationals in Durban.

Unlike most countries, South Africa is reportedly allowing swimmers to make the Olympic roster with times from prelims, semifinals or finals. This was the case today in two semifinal swims.

Cameron van der Burgh secured an Olympic berth in the men's 100 breast with a sterling time of 59.90. That swim jumped him to third in the world behind Kosuke Kitajima (58.90) and Ryo Tateishi (59.60) and is just the fourth sub-1:00 time in the world with Christian Sprenger clocking a 59.91 in Australia last month. The performance guaranteed van der Burgh's second Olympic appearance after competing at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Neil Versfeld placed second in 1:00.99 for 22nd in the world rankings, but just outside an Olympic bid after missing the FINA A cut of 1:00.79. Giulio Zorzi earned third in 1:02.61. Notably, Terence Parkin finished fifth in 1:03.71. The 32-year-old deaf swimmer earned the silver medal in the 2000 Sydney Olympics for South Africa in the men's 200 breast, and could have a shot of making the Olympic team in that distance on Friday.

Vanessa Mohr trumped Mandy Loots for the women's 100 fly win, 59.72 to 59.81. Loots had been faster during semis with a 59.44. Both swimmers missed the FINA A cut of 58.70. Both swimmers cleared the FINA B cut of 1:00.75. It is up to South Africa which swimmer it would desire to nominate for a provisional Olympic berth as the top swimmer with a B cut. Marne Erasmus wound up third in 1:00.84.

Wendy Trott claimed the women's 400 free title in 4:12.86, but missed the automatic qualifying time of 4:09.35. She did, however, better the FINA provisional qualifying mark of 4:18.07 to potentially earn a spot on the Olympic roster. Michelle Weber (4:15.91) and Jessica Pengelly (4:16.35) completed the podium.

Kevin Paul was listed first in the men's 100 breast with a 1:05.94, while Brazil's Daniel Dias clocked a 1:39.36 in the event. Natalie Du Toit, meanwhile, was listed first in the women's 100 breast with a 1:29.84, while Renette Bloem placed second in 1:39.06 at the age of 48.

Karin Prinsloo led the way in the women's 100 back with a 1:01.15, while Jessica Ashley-Cooper qualified second in 1:03.22. Lehesta Kemp qualified third in 1:03.44.

Chad Le Clos, who qualified for the Olympics in the men's 400 IM yesterday, is well on his way towards a second individual swim with a 1:47.20 to lead the way in the men's 200 free. That swim cleared the FINA A cut, and gave him another individual event in London. The time also moved him to 11th in the world rankings. Darian Townsend (1:48.26), Sebastien Rousseau (1:48.58) and Jean Basson (1:49.02) qualified second through fourth in the event. With Le Clos already qualified in the event, only one FINA A standard swim will qualify in the final — unless two others swim faster than Le Clos' semifinal time.

Suzaan van Biljon nearly cleared the FINA A cut in the women's 100 breast with a 1:08.60. That swim is just off the 1:08.48 Olympic qualifying standard. Taryn Mackenzie (1:11.14) and Ronwyn Roper (1:11.30) qualified second and third.

Charl Crous made the Olympic squad with his 54.19 from semis of the men's 100 back. That swim bettered the FINA A cut of 54.40, and moved Crous to 20th in the world rankings. Darren Murray (54.96) and Ricky Ellis (56.03) rounded out the top three qualifiers.

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