Another heat feat

2015-04-18 00:00

HAVING already qualified in the 100 m breaststroke for the swimming world championships in Russia, London Olympic gold medallist Cameron van den Burgh pushed on further as he aimed to repeat the feat in the 200 m breaststroke at the SA National Aquatic Championships at the King’s Park Pool in Durban yesterday.

In the morning preliminaries, he clocked the third fastest time of 2:19,44, behind Jarred Crous (2:19,34) and leader of the pack, Ayrton Sweeney (2:18,25). Watching Van den Bergh, who won his heat, was akin to being at a greyhound race, such was the quality of his swim. As he glided through the water like the rabbit ahead of the field, the other competitors were the hounds, taking up the challenge and trying to keep pace.

A relaxed Van den Burgh said after his heat that, although he felt the pressure was off having booked his seat for his fifth Worlds in the 100 m breaststroke, the 200 m presented a challenge he was keen to knock over.

“It’s not a race I do often. I needed to build up the courage to take it on and having done that, am ready to open the taps in the semi-final and final,” he said. “With only 12 weeks to Russia it’s all about training and heading to Europe for the final preparations.”

Van den Burgh added his current accomplishments were all a stepping stone for next year’s Olympic Games in Rio, where he would defend his 100 m breaststroke title to the bitter end.

“That’s obviously the goal but it’s one step at a time,” he said. “Keeping on top of my game is vital, as is being a medal contender at Worlds. That’s where I am now and I must stay strong and in contention.”

Also yesterday morning, Chad le Clos clocked the third best time in the 100 m butterfly heat to qualify for the business end of the event and Roland Schoeman was second fastest in the men’s 50 m freestyle prelims. For the women, Karin Prinsloo was top of the heap in the 100 m freestyle heats.

The evening session included the men’s 100 m freestyle final, men’s 200 m breaststroke semi and the men’s 50 m freestyle semi in a juicy ­programme. Once again, though, it was Myles Brown who lit up the arena, this time in the 100 m freestyle where he claimed his fourth title of the week. Having already qualified for Worlds in the 200 m and 400 m freestyle, he missed this one by under a second, clocking 49,95 secs.

True to form, Van den Burgh clocked a qualifying time of 2:11,37 in the 200 m breaststroke semi-final, having already claimed the 100 m and 50 m men’s breaststroke titles. He will want to complete his golden treble in tonight’s 200 m final.

Le Clos qualified for his third individual event by winning the 200 m Individual Medley in 1:58,97. This was Le Clos’s third medal at the championships after winning the 200 m butterfly and silver in the 200 m freestyle.

Other notable performances saw Gerhard Zandberg win the men’s 50 m backstroke in 25,39, Mariella Venter the women’s 50 m backstroke in 29,08, Michelle Weber the 800 m women’s ­freestyle in 8:53,35 and Rene Warnes the women’s 200 m butterfly in 2:14,49. ­Karin Prinsloo was beaten into second in the women’s 200 m backstroke, ­Central Gauteng’s Nathania van ­Niekerk snatching gold.

Today is the final day of the championships, with heats starting at 9.30 am and finals at 6 pm.

2015 FINA World Championships Qualifiers

Myles Brown - 200 m, 400 m & 800 m freestyle

Cameron van der Burgh - 100 m & 200m breaststroke

Chad le Clos - 200m freestyle, 200m butterfly & 200 m Individual Medley

Sebastien Rousseau - 200 m butterfly

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