SA swimmer smashes world record in Moscow

2009-11-09 00:00

THE evergreen George du Rand smashed the world record in the men’s 200 m backstroke on the second and final day of the Fina Arena Swimming World Cup in Moscow on Saturday.

Du Rand had seen his potential at the Durban World Cup where he had been two seconds under world record pace at the 100 m mark, only to drop off the pace and end with the Africa record. But this time his final time of 1 min 47,08 secs was inside the previous world mark held by Austria’s Markus Rogan of 1:47,84.

“I had expected that George would get under the time in Berlin perhaps, not as soon as Russia,” said coach Ryk Neethling yesterday. “George has been very focused since making the final in the 200 m backstroke at the World Champs in Rome, so his confidence is high at the moment.”

Neethling’s success in his first season of coaching is certainly showing. Lyndon Ferns did well in finishing second in the 100 m butterfly in 50,19sec in a race in which Russian Evgeny Korotyshkin set a world record of 48,99sec. Ferns dipped under his Africa and SA record set in Durban last month. He followed up with a fourth in the 50 m freestyle in 21,44sec.

Chanelle van Wyk recently moved to the Pretoria-based Neethling and she finished in fourth place in the women’s 100 m backstroke in 58,33sec — almost two seconds under the SA record.

Cameron van der Burgh also uses the experience of Neethling and continued with his form with a winning time of 56,36sec in the 100 m breaststroke, another world cup record.

Neil Versfeld took gold in the 200 m breaststroke on Friday as the SA breaststrokers impressed. They took all the gold medals with Van der Burgh winning the 50 m breaststroke in 25,58sec — the event where Roland Schoeman took second and Versfeld the bronze for a rare full house on the podium.

World Record holder Schoeman added a World Cup record time of 20,88sec in the 50 m freestyle to eclipse the previous world cup mark of 20,93sec held by Swede Stefan Nystrand.

Seals star Darian Townsend continued from where he left off in taking silver in the 100 m individual medley on Friday, to win the 200 m IM title in 1:52,93.

“Both Neil (Versfeld) and I were happy with our swims. The competition level has risen since Durban so getting on the podium is tough. We ’re off to Stockholm and apparently there is a record number of entries. I’m sure it’ll be even harder,” said Townsend.

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