South African Short Course Championships: Chad Le Clos Doubles, Natalie Du Toit Lowers Paralympic World Record

PIETERMARITZBURG, South Africa, August 6. DAY one of the Telkom SA Short Course Championships set the scene for the remainder of the competition, as 8 swimmers set qualifying times for the World Short Course Championships, Natalie Du Toit breaks the 6 year-old World Record in the 100m individual medley in the SM 9 Category and Chad le Clos wins two gold medals.

First to book her ticket to the World Short Course Championships in Dubai in December was Mandy Loots with a dominant performance in the 200m Butterfly, quite comfortably winning in 2:10.03 – the qualification time was 2:10.82.

Chanelle van Wyk continues her return to form after a shoulder injury in 2009 which almost caused her to retire from the sport. Van Wyk is on the comeback trail as she posted a fast 59.89sec in the heats of the 100m Backstroke – the only swimmer to dip under the 1min mark and in so doing gave notice of her intentions of making the trip to Dubai.

Natalie Du Toit showed just why she is so highly in demand in the swimming world. Du Toit, who has just come back from the FINA World Open Water Swimming Championships, had no problems in adapting to the pool and the shorter version at that. Du Toit won her 100m individual medley heat in the SM9 category in 1:11.74 shattering the previous World Record held by Claire Cashmere of the UK by over 5 seconds. Cashmere set the previous record in 2004 at 1:16.98. She then went on to break her own record in the final, touching the wall in 1:11.06.

If the morning session was dramatic then so was the evening session. Showing his incredible talent, 18 year-old Chad le Clos won the 200m Freestyle ahead of his more fancied opponent, Darian Townsend. Le Clos made his move in the final 50m and touched the wall in 1:47.89 with Townsend clocking 1:49.10 and Leith Shankland rounding out the podium – 1:49.40.

Le Clos also had an emphatic victory in the 400m individual medley to clinch his second Gold of the day, this time though he made sure he was on the plane to Dubai. Le Clos was 10 seconds faster than Riaan Schoeman and 7 seconds inside the required time set by Swimming SA.

It was only the semi-finals, but neither Gerhard Zandberg, nor George Du Rand were leaving anything to chance as both dipped under the required 53.43sec needed to qualify for the World Short Course Championships. Zandberg touching the wall in 52.51sec and Du Rand in 53.13sec.

William Diering caused a bit of an upset in the men's 200m Breaststroke as he beat favorite, Neil Versfeld. Diering had been focusing on his studies for the last 15 months or so and has been back in serious training for 3 months now and the results are showing. Diering won in 2:09.94 – edging Versfeld to 2:10.41. Both qualifying for the World Short Course Championships under the required 2:10.62.

In the 400m individual medley, both Jessica Pengelly and Kathryn Meaklim set qualifying times for Dubai by clocking 4:38.70 and 4:40.36 respectively.

The Telkom SA Short Course Championships continues tomorrow with the heats at 09h30 and finals starting at 17h00 in Pietermaritzburg's GC Jolliffe Swimming Pool.

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