SA swim squad set another record

2008-08-11 00:00

Although setting a new African record, South Africa’s 4x100m swimming squad finished seventh in an event that produced two world and five continental records.

A determined final 50m by Jason Lezak out-touched the French team to give the U.S. victory in 3:08.24.

All eight finalists went under the World and Olympic record time set by South Africa in Athens, and the top six went under the subsequent record of 3:12,46 set in by the U.S. in 2006.

Australia’s Eamon Sullivan set a new 100 m record of 47,24 seconds for his opening leg, with Michael Phelps and Lyndon Ferns clocking American and African records in 47,51 and 48,15 respectively.

The French (3:08,32), Australia (3:09,91) and South Africa (3:12,66) posted continental records in second, third and seventh places respectively.

Said Ryk Neethling: “We did everything we could — we changed the order trying to get more front-end speed.

“We broke the African record last night and again this morning — we’re very proud of our team.”

The race highlighted the scale of improvement over the four-year Olympic cycle.

“It [the time] just shows how things have turned around in [the] last nine months — our time would have won world champs nine months ago,” said Neethling.

In the first semi of the men’s 200m freestyle, Jean Basson became South Africa’s first individual finalist winning his race by over a second in one minute 46,13 seconds.

Turning at 50m in second spot, Basson took control, passing Britain’s Ross Davenport, who was pushed to third by the charge of Russian Danila Izotov.

“I was hurting pretty bad in the second 100 metres, but I’ve got more in the tank. I should do a best time [in the final],” said Basson, whose time ranked him third, 0,37 seconds behind Peter Vanderkaay and Taehwan Park.

Tennis player Kevin Anderson was forced to double up on matches yesterday following Sunday’s rain which cancelled the singles programme.

Anderson beat Togo’s Komlavi Loglo 6-3, 6-2 in under an hour, and goes through to face Germany’s Nicolas Keifer in today’s second round.

“I haven’t seen Kevin for about six years, but he has really improved a lot since then,” said Loglo. “I will stay here for a while and cheer for him.”

Anderson praised Loglo’s serve-and-volley game, but added that “he is a bit weak out wide and I was able to exploit that”.

Nineteenth-seeded Keifer is at his third Olympics, and finished second in this year’s Rogers Cup, making progression a big call for Johannesburg-based Anderson.

Anderson, who suffered a dry throat after the singles, combined with Jeff Coetzee later in the day for the doubles against the Spanish fifth- seed pairing of Nicolas Almagro and David Ferrer.

After winning the first set 6-3, the South Africans went down 3-6, 4-6 to end there tournament. This will be a disappointing end for Coetzee, who was originally paired with Wesley Moodie and was seeded fourth for this tournament. Moodie withdrew as a result of a knee injury that had failed to heal since Wimbledon.

Despite taking over 36 seconds off her first round time, Rika Geyser failed to progress past the quarter-finals of the single sculls, finishing in fourth in a race won by Belarusian Ekatrina Kartsen in seven minutes 25,74 seconds.

Geyser was alongside third-placed Emma Twigg at 500m, but couldn’t maintain the momentum.

With each successive quarter, the gap opened further to finish out of the qualification, in 7:44,14, over nine seconds behind the New Zealander.

Geyser and coach Peter Cookson were disappointed with the race where the initial goal was to make either the B or A final.

“We had expected Rika to progress to the next round, but looking at the times, this wasn’t going to happen” said team coach Roger Burrow.

The men’s hockey rounded off a poor day, the South Africans being outclassed by Netherlands 5-0.

Taeke Taekema scored from penalty corners in the fourth and 35th minute, with a flurry of field goals in the second half, leaving the South Africans with questions to ask.

“We made a lot of errors we didn’t take care of the ball possession,” said Lungile Tsolekile.

“I feel very disappointed, next time we will get it right”

Norrie Williamson’s air flights sponsored by Allday EnerGIFoods – Constant Carbs are Key. www.energifoods.co.za

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