Bumper crop of qualification times
After four days of intense competition in Pietermaritzburg, the SA National Short Course Championships concluded on Sunday with an amazing total of 18 South African swimmers posting World Championship qualification times.
Olympian Roland Schoeman confirmed his 50m freestyle qualification time in Sunday night's final, finishing the race in 21.33 while Douglass Erasmus and Luke Pendock were second and third respectively.
Later on in the evening, Schoeman claimed the bronze in the 50m breaststroke behind champion Cameron van der Burgh. Van der Burgh took the title in 26.58 followed by Giulio Zorzi (27.19). Neil Versfeld was in fourth with a time of 27.43. All four swimmers dipped under the required 27.78 qualification time.
With his fourth qualification time of the competition, Darian Townsend easily claimed the gold in the 200m individual medley over ten seconds ahead of the chasing pack, ending in 1:55.61.
In the 1 500m freestyle, Myles Brown raced to his first World Championship qualification time when he won the race in 15:05.45 ahead of Chad Ho (15:36.08) and Dean Myhill (15:52.05), while Garth Tune was also celebrating his first qualification time in the 50m backstroke, winning the event in 24.54.
Darren Murray was happy to take the top position in the 200m backstroke with yet another qualification time of 1:55.86 ahead of Michael Meyer and Christopher Reid with the 200m butterfly title going to Jan van der Merwe in 2:01.19.
Jessica Pengelly and Kathryn Meaklim both finished with qualification times in the 200m individual medley, touching the wall in 2:11.61 and 2:12.19 respectively. The bronze medal was won by Marlies Ross in 2:17.94.
Sharing the gold in the 100m butterfly, both Marne Erasmus and Mandy Loots touched the wall in a qualification time of 59.55, while Jessica Ashley-Cooper confirmed her 50m backstroke qualification in a time of 28.08.
Ashley-Cooper won her second gold of the night when she touched first in the 200m backstroke in a time of 2:10.68, ahead of Pengelly and Nathania van Niekerk in 2:11.43 and 2:14.19 respectively.
Trudi Maree was in a close race for the 50m freestyle gold medal and won in a time of 25.37 ahead of Lehesta Kemp (25.60) and Peggy de Villiers (26.03), while Kelly Gunnell added another gold to her tally in the 100m breaststroke (1:10.36), edging out Erin Anderson and Tara Nicholas.
In the 200m freestyle, Rene Warnes walked away with the gold in a time of 2:01.05.
The Tuks relay teams grabbed both gold medals in the 4x100m medley relay in the women's and men's sections, finishing in 4:19.34 and 3:38.76 respectively.
Christelle Kriel added yet another gold medal in the multi-disability 100m freestyle event (S14-15) with the S1-13 gold going to Tenza Abrahams. Abrahams and Kriel were on top shortly after, each winning the 200m individual medley in their respective classes.
Challis Wright (S14) had a golden evening, taking home gold in the 100m freestyle race and the 200m individual medley.
The final team to compete at the Fina World Short Course Championships, to be held in Istanbul, Turkey from 12-16 December 2012, will be announced by Swimming SA.
Final Fina World Short Course Championships qualification times:
Chad le Clos - 200m freestyle, 50m butterfly (SF)
Darian Townsend - 200m freestyle, 100m individual medley, 100m freestyle (SF), 200m individual medley
Jessica Pengelly - 400m individual medley, 800m freestyle, 200m individual medley
Kathryn Meaklim - 200m and 400m individual medley
Darren Murray - 100m backstroke, 50m backstroke (SF), 100m individual medley, 200m backstroke
Roland Schoeman - 50m butterfly, 100m individual medley, 50m breaststroke, 50m freestyle
Karin Prinsloo - 100m Backstroke (SF)
Jessica Ashley Cooper- 100m Backstroke (SF), 50m backstroke
Neil Versfeld - 100m breaststroke, 50m breaststroke
Leith Shankland - 100m individual medley
Marne Erasmus - 100m butterfly
Cameron van der Burgh - 50m breaststroke
Trudi Maree - 50m freestyle
Mandy Loots - 100m butterfly
Garth Tune - 50m backstroke
Myles Brown - 1 500m freestyle
Michael Meyer - 200m individual medley (heats)
Giulio Zorzi - 50m breaststroke