Townsend falls short, Crous shines
Darian Townsend had a disappointing night at the SA Swimming Championships and Olympic Trials in Durban on Wednesday, but there was joy for Charl Crous after he edged closer to securing his place at the London Games.
Athens gold medallist Townsend won the 200 metres freestyle at the Kings Park Pool, clinching the title in one minute, 47.88 seconds (1:47.88) but his time was 0.06 seconds outside the qualifying standard of 1:47.82.
Fellow KwaZulu-Natal swimmer Crous delivered a second successive A-standard time within the space of 24 hours, winning the men's 100m backstroke gold medal in 54.17 seconds.
The 21-year-old, who raced through his semifinal in 54.19 the day before, was again inside the required 54.40 qualifying mark as he edged out Darren Murray (54.80) and Ricky Ellis (56.16).
“I knew I had a lot of confidence coming into tonight's final,” Crous said.
“After doing it in yesterday's semifinal, my coach, family and friends had a lot of confidence in me, so I'm very chuffed to have done that time.”
Townsend, meanwhile, had previously dipped under the A-standard time in the 400m freestyle, but needed to do it again this week to meet stringent qualifying criteria and guarantee selection in his event.
“Obviously missing the time is a little bit disappointing, but I still have the 200m IM (individual medley), which is my main event, and the 100m freestyle,” said the 27-year-old, who won the 4x100m relay gold medal at the 2004 Beijing Games alongside Roland Schoeman, Lyndon Ferns, and Ryk Neethling.
Townsend has already set an A-standard time in the 200m IM.
“To be honest, my best shot of getting a medal in London is going to be the 200m IM and the 4x100m freestyle relay and this event (200m freestyle) actually clashes with that relay," he said.
“It would have been a tough decision to make, but now that decision is kind of made for me.”
Elsewhere on Wednesday, two other swimmers set A-standard times – Chad le Clos and Kathryn Meaklim.
Le Clos delivered a dominant performance in the 200m butterfly semifinal to qualify quickest for the final with a 1:55.30, comfortably within the required 1:56.86.
Meaklim topped the 200m IM qualifiers in the semifinals with a time of 2:13.33, 0.03 seconds inside the qualifying standard of 2:13.36.
There was disappointment for Suzaan van Biljoen as she narrowly missed out on an A-standard time on her way to winning the 100m breaststroke title in 1:08.76, just outside the qualifying mark of 1:08.48.
Swimming SA reports that in the 50m freestyle disability event, Charl Bouwer (S13), Hendri Herbst (S5) and Kevin Paul (S10) set Paralympic A Qualification Times in the evening finals, finishing in 24.38, 26.86 and 25.68 respectively.
Challis Wright, Craig Groenewald and Avron Manchest finished with the gold, silver and bronze in the S14 category 50m freestyle in 26.62, 26.64 and 27.11 respectively while Yvonne Smith (S14), Cornell Loubser (S15) and Christelle Kriel (S14) made up the medal podium in 31.24, 29.76 and 34.95.
Later on in the evening Wright, Groenewald and Martyn Groenewald were fastest in the S14 50m backstroke in 32.22, 33.41 and 33.43 with Achmat Hassiem, James Bezuidenhout and Johann van Heerden scooping the gold, silver and bronze in 32.13, 34.72 and 34.77.
Smith took the silver medal in the 50m backstroke in 38.53 ahead of Leanne Sterrenberg in 41.39 and behind Cornell Loubser in 35.65. Shireen Sapiro (S10), Tezna Abrahams (S10) and Dimakatso Makgakga (S9) were triumphant in the 50m backstroke in 33.99, 39.91 and 45.44.
Natalie du Toit was first in the 50m freestyle S9 category in 31.40 with Shireen Sapiro (S10 - 31.08) in second and Emily Gray (32.84) in third.
All the Olympic qualifying times following the completion of day three (SF = semifinal)
- Chad le Clos – 400m individual medley – 4:13.86
- Chad le Clos – 200m freestyle (SF) – 1:47.20
- Chad le Clos – 200m butterfly (SF) – 1:55.30
- Cameron van der Burgh – 100m breaststroke – 59.90
- Riaan Schoeman – 400m individual medley – 4:15.60
- Heerden Herman – 400m freestyle – 3:48.57
- Kathryn Meaklim – 400m individual medley - 4:37.70
- Kathryn Meaklim – 200m individual medley (SF) – 2:13.33
- Charl Crous – 100m backstroke – 54.17
All the Paralympic qualifying times following the completion of day three
- Charl Bouwer (S13) – 100m backstroke - 59.78
- Charl Bouwer (S13) – 400m freestyle - 4:13.93
- Charl Bouwer (S13) – 50m freestyle – 24.38
- Hendri Herbst (S11) – 100m backstroke - 1:18.98
- Hendri Herbst (S11) – 400m freestyle – 4:58.75
- Hendri Herbst (S11) – 50m freestyle – 26.86
- Shireen Sapiro (S10) – 100m backstroke - 1:10.70
- Natalie du Toit (S9) – 100m backstroke - 1:14.78
- Natalie du Toit (SB8) – 100m breaststroke – 1:29.84
- Emily Gray (S10) - 100m backstroke - 1:16.88
- Tadhg Slattery (SB5) - 100m breaststroke -1:40.70
- Hendrik van der Merwe (SB5) - 100m breaststroke -1:43.84
- Challis Wright (SB14) – 100m breaststroke – 1:16.02
- Craig Groenewald (SB14) – 100m breaststroke – 1:14.80
- Yvonne Smith (SB14) – 100m breaststroke – 1:32.43
- Yvonne Smith (S14) – 200m freestyle – 2:24.24
- Renette Bloem (SB11) – 100m breaststroke – 1:39.06
- Marike Naude (SB13) – 100m breaststroke – 1:41.27
- Kevin Paul (SB9) – 100m breaststroke – 1:05.94 (World Record)
- Kevin Paul (S10) – 50m freestyle – 25.68