SA’s Meaklim gets world record

2009-11-23 00:00

MEDALS for South Africa in swimming continued to flow steadily as Kathryn Meaklim raced to her first world record in an amazing race on the final day of the 2009 FINA Arena World Cup in Singapore yesterday.

Meaklim tackled the women’s 400 m individual medley in a positive mood and was on a par with the world record pace until the freestyle, when she accelerated even more to smash the old record by 2,13 sec, clocking an impressive 4:22,88.

“I thought I had a chance in Stockholm and Berlin, but I had a few problems there,” said a beaming Meaklim afterwards. “This is a great feeling with all my teammates behind me here. I could see the scoreboard and it was showing I was under the world record pace, so I just went for it.”

Then, a few races later, a psyched Meaklim took on world record-holder Liesel Jones of Australia in the 200 m breaststroke — and beat her. Meaklim improved almost three seconds on her previous best to touch in 2:20,52.

On Saturday, Meaklim dead-heated for second place in the 800 m freestyle to break her own national record, clocking 8:25,47.

Seals star Darian Townsend continued to impress. He started with a silver medal on Saturday in the men’s 100 m freestyle to clock a personal best 46,63 sec before winning the 100 m IM comfortably in 52,11 sec.

Yesterday, Townsend raced away from his opposition in the 200 m freestyle to clock a fast 1:41,65 and then tackled a weakened line-up in the 200 m IM after arch-rivals Ousama Mellouli (Tunisia) and Markus Rogan (Austria) were disqualified in the heats. With no pressure in the backstroke leg, Townsend fell slightly off his world record pace and went on to win his third gold in 1:52,49 — less than a second off his world mark.

Silver medals also flowed as Mandy Loots was in record-breaking form. She clocked 2:04,24 in the 200 m butterfly and a 2:05,01 for the 200 m backstroke to lower her own SA records once again.

Roland Schoeman started well by beating world record-holder Cameron van der Burgh in the men’s 50 m breaststroke, clocking 25,58 sec to 25,76 sec on Saturday. Schoeman had to be content with silver after that with a 22,27 sec in the 50 m butterfly and a 20,89 sec in the 50 m freestyle.

Van der Burgh stole back the gold in the 100 m breaststroke in 56,25 sec with Neil Versfeld breathing down his neck for the silver in 56,74 sec. Versfeld took that runner’s-up berth on Saturday as well in the 200 m breaststroke, clocking 2:02,68.

Garth Tune did very well in the 100m butterfly where he came close to the SA record, earning a silver in a fast 50,36 sec. Another versatile swimmer is coming though the ranks as Jay-Cee Thomson made his presence felt. He went on to win bronze in the 400 m (4:06.97) and 400 m freestyle (3:41.09) respectively on Saturday and then took another bronze in the 200 m IM yesterday, clocking an exciting 1:56,86.

Although veteran Terence Parkin wasn’t among the medals, he was among a number of World Deaf Records — and he currently holds every possible record in the short course pool. Parkin needed one more, the 50 m butterfly, where he clipped 0,15 sec off the old record in clocking 25,14 sec. He improved on his other records in the 100 m freestyle (50,77 sec), 200 m freestyle (1:49,94) and the 100 m breaststroke (1:00,56).

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