Le Clos finishes champs on a high
Olympic gold medallist Chad le Clos wrapped up his campaign at the SA Swimming Championships posting a world championships qualifying time in the 100m butterfly on Saturday evening.
The 21-year-old could not contain his excitement after the race as he posted the leading time in the world so far this year when he stopped the clock at 51.79 seconds.
Ryan Coetzee finished behind him in a time of 55.02 seconds, while Reynard Wessels claimed the bronze medal clocking 55.10 seconds.
Earlier the week Le Clos was much more subdued as he was clearly not completely satisfied with his time in the 200m butterfly.
“I was very happy after the disappointing 200m (butterfly). I was not too happy with that time,” Le Clos said.
“I really wanted to go No 1 in the world in at least one of the races.
“I just wanted to get back to the top there and I was only 0.40 from my best time and the form and to do that in this pool I am very happy.”
The 100m butterfly victory brought Le Clos' title tally to four from five individual events, with swimming stalwart Roland Schoeman denying him a fifth title in the 50m butterfly.
The battle between Schoeman and Le Clos was a recurring theme at the championships with the two locking horns in the 50m breaststroke and the 100m freestyle.
The 100m freestyle race on Friday night was set to be another exciting match-up between the duo but Schoeman's tactic to set a qualifying time in the 50m split saw Le Clos grab his second freestyle title at the championships.
Le Clos' disappointment of missing out on another tussle with Schoeman was palpable as he missed the qualifying standard in this event by 0.025 seconds.
The 21-year-old Le Clos said he had lofty plans for this year's world championships aiming for victories in the 50, 100 and 200m butterfly events in Barcelona in July.
Rising star Myles Brown could not replicate his performance from the 800m freestyle in the 1500m freestyle race on Saturday.
Brown met the standard in the 800m freestyle the day before to add his name to the list of qualifiers.
Cameron van der Burgh, the world record holder in the 100m breaststroke, was the first to qualify at the championships when he posted a time of 1:00.71 in the semifinals on Monday.
While championships produced four men's qualifiers but none of the women lived up to expectations as none posted a qualifying time.
Olympian Karin Prinsloo assembled four titles as she won the 100 and 200m backstroke and the 100m and 200m freestyle, but struggled to get near the qualifying times for the world championships.
Women's swimming had been a concern for the last few years, but Swimming SA (SSA) chief executive Shaun Adriaanse reassured a plan would be implemented to improve the quality.
Suzaan van Biljon, who finished seventh in the final of the women's 200m breaststroke scratched from the championships due to an ear infection, was a strong contender to qualify for the world championships.
It is, however, that SSA would only select the four qualifiers as times between July 1, 2012 and July 1, 2013 could be considered, according to Fina's qualifying criteria.
1 Roland Schoeman 21.88 seconds
2 Reynard Wessels 22.79
3 Leith Shankland 22.90
Chad le Clos 51.79 secondsv 2 Ryan Coetzee 55:02
3 Reynard Wessels 55.10
1 Darren Murray 2:01.89
2 Christopher Reid 2:02.33
3 Ricky Ellis 2:02.97
1 Ayrton Sweeney 2:18.09
2 Jarred Crous 2:19321
3 Luke Isemonger 2:21.15
400M INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY:
1 Michael Meyer 4:19.36
2 Ayrton Sweeney 4:23.39
3 Christopher Reid 4:30.74
1 Myles Brown 15:28.20
2 Chad Ho 15:52.75
3 Danie Marais 16:07.52
1 Vanessa Mohr 27.32 seconds
2 Jessica Ashley-Cooper 27.50
3 Trudi Maree 27.56
1 Karin Prinsloo 56.25
2 Dani McWilliam 58.49
3 Anika Kruger 1:00.17
1 Tara Nicholas 2:32.90
2 Marlies Ross 2:34.31
3 Kelly Gunnell 2:34.57
1 Karin Prinsloo 2:13.37
2 Jessica Ashley-Cooper 2:15.24
3 Nathania van Niekerk 2:16.00
400M INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY:
1 Rene Warnes 4:51.01
2 Jolandi Els 4:56.33
3 Marlies Ross 4:56.51
1 Michelle Weber 17:02.64
2 Roxanne Tammadge 17:04.51
3 Caitlin Kat 17:06.41