PMB’s golden boy

2010-04-17 00:00

CITY Sportsman of the Year Darian Townsend raced to a double gold on the penultimate day of the Telkom South African Swimming Championships at the Kings Park pool in Durban last night, reports WAYNE RIDDIN.

Townsend had a difficult choice to make on the night of his main event, the 200 m individual medley, whether to keep the men’s 100 m butterfly final in his sights. This he did with an excellent victory to open the evening on a high note to clock 53,40 seconds.

It was Commonwealth Games qualifier and winner of the 200 m butterfly, Chad le Clos, who eventually came through with a fast finish to earn the silver medal a fraction behind in 53,53 seconds and just 0,20 seconds ahead of Neil Watson who bagged the bronze.

The Seals Olympian then tackled the 200 m IM where he still needed to achieve a Commonwealth Games qualifying time set at 2:01,40. This he achieved easily as he stayed ahead of a hard-chasing Sebastien Rousseau to clock a 2:00,10.

“It was good having Sebastien close to me and a closer race this time,” said Townsend. “I am glad I raced both events and really pleased with my times — we are all getting used to racing without the banned suits so have to now compare our times from a few years ago.”

Rousseau was also a relieved man as he also dipped under the QT with a 2:01,01 to take another silver medal while Chad Le Clos had another fast finish to take the bronze in 2:01,55.

It was another amazing swim from Wendy Trott as she achieved yet another Commonwealth Games QT in the women’s 400 m freestyle. The Georgia University student was well under the QT and again possibly frustrated that she missed her national mark by only 0,19sec, clocking a fast 4:08,57. But she was “pleased with the time as that was in a full suit at the Beijing Olympics”.

Leone Vorster did her best to chase the 4:11,26 QT only to fade a little to end with the silver medal in 4:14,15. It was another satisfying performance by Bianca Meyer, now training under local club Seals, as she raced to her third bronze medal of the tournament in 4:24,30.

Whizzkid Roland Schoeman showed the world that he is not finished yet as he raced to a magnificent 22,16 sec in the semi-finals of the men’s 50 m freestyle. The first semi-final saw Gideon Louw clock up his first QT with a brilliant 22,34 sec to set the stage for another excellent final this evening. Adding Graeme Moore to the fold with his 22,93 sec dash, perhaps we could see a sub-22 sec victory.

Ronwyn Roper left it a little late in the women’s 100 m breaststroke as young up-and-coming Taryn Mackenzie took her first title at senior level. There was just 0,22 sec separating the two, with Mackenzie touching in 1:12,20, while another impressive performance came from Marguerite van Zyl for the bronze in a 1:12,51.

It was another disappointing night for young Charl van Zyl despite winning another gold in the men’s 100 m backstroke. He was just 0,06sec outside that elusive QT in the semi-final the previous night in 55,20 sec, but slipped back a little in perhaps trying too hard in the final, winning in 55,73 sec ahead of Ricky Ellis (56,14 sec) and Darren Murray (56,56 sec).

Hopefully Van Zyl can still get under the mark when he leads off the men’s 4 x 100m medley relay tonight.

Among the disability section, more world records fell with young Kevin Paul lowering his own recently set marks. He clocked an outstanding 30,96 sec in the morning heats and then was so close in the final, clocking 30,99 sec. Natalie du Toit continued with her massive gold medal haul with another victory in the 50 m freestyle in the S9 category, clocking 30,07 sec. She produced an outstanding result in competing in the able bodied 400 m freestyle, ending in fifth place overall in 4:26,60, only a few seconds off her world record.

City trained swimmer Sean Clark improved on his personal best in the 50 m freestyle with another bronze medal performance in the S8-10 category. He clocked a fast 26,72 sec

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