Zandberg sails through to finals

2011-07-30 14:48

Gerhard Zandberg, South Africa’s backcrawl sprinter, secured himself a place in today’s final after swimming the third-fastest time in Shanghai yesterday.

Zandberg swam a time of 24,91 seconds, 0,57 seconds slower than the South African record he set at the world championships in Rome two years ago.

The swimmer, who won gold over the distance in Melbourne four years ago, said he was happy not to have had the fastest time.

“That was the plan. I don’t like to put myself in the top spot for the final. I work up as it goes along,” he said.

Defending champion Liam Tancock from Britain swam the fastest time of 24,62 seconds.

Also in the evening session, Gideon Louw swam in the men’s 50m freestyle final but ended up last with a time of 22,11, which was good enough for his first Olympic qualification time for next year’s games in London.

Louw said: “It was the preparation before the race that caught me, I think. As I had the morning off, I felt lazy and wanted to sleep in where I should have done a warm-up.”

Brazilian Cesar Cielo won the race with the fastest time of 21,52 seconds, with Italian Luca Dotto and French swimmer Alain Bernard second and third, respectively.

Long-distance female freestyler Wendy Trott swam in the women’s 800m final, finishing seventh in a time of eight minutes 30,45 seconds. Like Louw she has secured her Olympic qualifying time.

Breaststroker Suzaan van Biljon clocked up the 15th-fastest time of 31,97 seconds in the 50m semifinal. She was 0,01 seconds slower than this morning’s time, but nevertheless still slower than her season’s personal best of 31,90.

“The 50m is not my preferred distance and to be honest I’m nowhere near the fitness level I could have been,” she said.

America’s Jessica Hardy leads the other 15 competitors into tomorrow night’s final as she recorded a time of 30,40 seconds.

The best performance of the night belonged to 16-year-old American swimmer Missy Franklin, who won gold in the women’s 200m in a time of two minutes 5,10 seconds – just 0,29 off the world record held by Zimbabwean Kirsty Coventry.

Just over an hour later, she anchored the US 4x100m medley relay team to gold, again coming agonisingly close to a first world record, as she managed to cut down a 0,66 deficit on the world record split at her turn to just 0,17 at the end.

The US winning time was 3:52.36.

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