South African Long Course Nationals: Chad Le Clos Cracks Top 10

DURBAN, South Africa, April 16. THE initial day of Olympic qualifying kicked off at the South African Long Course Nationals being held in Durban.

Chad Le Clos improved upon his FINA A cut time of 4:14.93 from the South African International Invitational with from January with a winning time of 4:13.86 to secure his spot on the Olympic roster. That swim pushed him to 10th in the world, and nearly bettered Le Clos' lifetime best of 4:13.25 from the 2010 Commonwealth Games. Riaan Schoeman placed second in 4:15.60, besting his 4:16.02 from earlier in the year and giving South Africa its second Olympic competitor in the event. Michael Meyer finished third in 4:16.42, clipping the FINA A standard of 4:16.46, but remaining on the outside looking in for an Olympic spot.

Heerden Herman won the men's 400 free in 3:48.57, just clipping the FINA A cut of 3:48.92 to earn his way onto the Olympic team. Myles Brown (3:51.70) and Mark Randall (3:53.29) placed second and third in the event, while Jean Basson scratched prelims after posting a 3:58.15.

Kathryn Meaklim cruised to victory in the women's 400 IM with a 4:37.70, besting the FINA A cut of 4:41.75, and guaranteeing her an Olympic berth. The swim jumped her to 11th in the world rankings thus far this year. Jessica Pengelly finished second in 4:46.47, outside of an Olympic qualifying bid, while Wendy Trott rounded out the podium with a third-place time of 4:47.11.

Challis Wright was listed first in the men's 100 back with a 1:11.07, while Martyn Groenewald was listed second in 1:11.17. Brazil's Daniel Dias competed in the event and nearly lowered his world record of 1:16.40 in the S5 division with a 1:16.80. Yvonne Smith was listed first in the women's 100 back with a 1:25.01, while Shireen Sapiro (1:10.70) and Natalie Du Toit (1:14.78) also competed in their divisions. Division designations were unavailable.

Mandy Loots led the way in the women's 100 fly semis with a 59.44 — the lone sub-1:00 time of qualifying in the event. Vanessa Mohr (1:00.80) and Marne Erasmus (1:01.12) finished second and third in semis to bracket Loots in the finale.

Cameron van der Burgh raced to the top seed in the men's 100 breast with a 1:00.36. That swim pushed him to seventh in the world rankings, and ahead of the FINA A cut of 1:00.79. Neil Versfeld finished second in 1:01.79, while Rory Buck took third in 1:02.36.

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