Prinsloo sets SA record

2014-04-10 00:00

IT was a busy night for KwaZulu-Natal’s Olympic hero Chad le Clos, who powered his way through three races — two finals and a semi — on the third night of the South African National Aquatic Championships at King’s Park Pool in Durban.

Le Clos added one more gold medal to his tally in the men’s 200 m backstroke, but could not upset the odds to defeat veteran Roland Schoeman in the 50 m butterfly.

Le Clos was untroubled in the first final of the evening as he ousted Darren Murray and Christopher Reid in a time of 1:57,93 in the 100 m backstroke — not one of his favoured events — but that time will be enough to see him taking on the world’s best at this year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

After a short break, Le Clos was in the pool once more when he unspectacularly made his way into the finals of the 100 m freestyle, qualifying third fastest in the semis behind Leith Shankland and Caydon Muller.

His third and final race of the night was the 50 m butterfly final, where he was always going to be an underdog to Schoeman. It all went exactly according to script, and Schoeman romped home to win while Le Clos finished second in an event that the pair will be eyeing in Glasgow.

“The great thing is that both Chad and I will be on the podium at the Commonwealth Games this year,” said Schoeman after his race.

Le Clos was less optimistic.

“I’m not a 50 fly swimmer,” he said after the meet. “Roland is really quick. I knew that if I beat him it would be a miracle.”

The big winner on the night, though, was Northern Tigers’ 2012 Olympian Karin Prinsloo, who won both her finals — the 100 m freestyle and 100 m backstroke — in times that were good enough to get her to Glasgow. In addition, Prinsloo set a new South African long course record in the backstroke while she equalled her own freestyle record.

Clearly emotional when she left the pool after her second race, Prinsloo fought back tears as she wobbled her way through her television interview. “2013 was just a really tough year for me, physically and mentally,” she told The Witness after her backstroke triumph. “I never thought I would qualify in both events. I am extremely happy and just so grateful.”

There was also Commonwealth qualifying success for 2012 Olympic gold medallist Cameron van der Burgh, who looked unflustered after his emphatic win in the 50 m breaststroke. “I’m happy with that,” beamed Van der Burgh afterwards. “I just tried to save as much energy as I could from heats, through to semis and the final, and it worked out well.”

Le Clos will turn his attention to the medleys today, and says he is still in the process of figuring out what he will and won’t swim in Glasgow.

“I’m not expecting too much from the medleys, so we’ll take it as it comes,” he said. “The important thing is to keep qualifying and give myself as many options as possible.”


Men’s 200 metres backstroke (Commonwealth Games Qualifying Time 1:58,48):

1. Chad le Clos 1:57,93*

2. Darren Murray 1:59,68

3. Christopher Reid 2:00,58

Men’s 100 metres freestyle semi-final 1 (CGQT 54,86):

1. Leith Shankland 50,23

2. Chad le Clos 50,59

3. Jacques van Wyk 50,82

Men’s 100 metres freestyle semi-final 2:

1. Caydon Muller 50,43

2. Joshua Steyn 50,74

3. Calvyn Justus 50,90

Men’s 50 metres butterfly:

1. Roland Schoeman 23,11

2. Chad le Clos 23,86

3. Ryan Coetzee 24,28

Men’s 100 metres breaststroke (CGQT 1:00,86):

1. Cameron van der Burgh 59,50*

2. Giulio Zorzi 1:02,31

3. Marko Visser 1:02,64

Women’s 100 metres freestyle (CGQT 54.86):

1. Karin Prinsloo 54,48*

2. Erin Gallagher 56,70

3. Trudi Maree 56,84

Women’s 100 metres butterfly semi-final 1 (CGQT 58,89):

1. Vanessa Mohr 1:00,77

2. Bailey Desmarais 1:02,91

3. Tarryn Els 1:03,05

Women’s 100 metres butterfly semi-final 2:

1. Marne Erasmus 59,72

2. Rene Warnes 1:02,14

3. Rita Naude 1:02,71

Women’s 200 metres breaststroke (CGQT 2:27,88):

1. Franko Jonker 2:28,66

2. Justine Macfarlane 2:28,74

3. Tatjana Schoenmaker 2:29.18

Women’s 100 metres backstroke (CGQT 1:01,39):

1. Karin Prinsloo 1:00,81*

2. Jessica Ashley-Cooper 1:01,65

3. Nathania van Niekerk 1:03,34

* denotes Commonwealth Games qualifying time.

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