Swimming sensations

2009-10-17 00:00

ROLAND Schoeman, up-and-coming Chad le Clos, and Seals stars Neil Versfeld and Terence Parkin provided the excitement on the opening night of the Fina Swimming World Cup at King’s Park pool in Durban last night.

The upset of the evening happened when Schoeman snatched his first victory in the men’s 50 m breaststroke in a new World Cup record in 25,90sec, beating world record holder Cameron van der Burgh by a mere 0,04sec.

“I knew I had a chance when I got an excellent start in the outside lane,” said Schoeman. “I have not raced a 50 m breaststroke for a while, so I am really surprised with this result.”

Van der Burgh gave credit to Schoeman for his victory. “Roland swam a great race. I am still happy with my time as it is still faster than what I started on last year.”

Schoeman then raced to a double in the 50 m butterfly when he set another World Cup mark in a fast 22,32sec to edge out German Steffen Diebler by a narrow margin of 0,08sec.

But the young Le Clos impressed over longer distances, showing the character that took veteran Parkin to international stardom over a decade ago.

The Durbanite started his assault on titles in the 400 m individual medley setting a new Africa and SA record in 4:05,04 to edge out favourite Riaan Schoeman by almost three seconds.

Le Clos was back for the 200 m butterfly where the strength of his underwater work at the turns saw him swim to another Africa and SA record in 1:54,45.

Versfeld followed with his own Africa and SA mark a little later in the 200 m breaststroke where he shattered his own mark by 1,5sec to clock 2:03,35.

William Diering was next on 2:06,35. Olympic silver medallist in Sydney in 2000, Parkin returned after a three-year break to take bronze in an excellent 2:08,64.

Seals star Darian Townsend started quietly on his first night with a silver medal in the 100 m IM, clocking 52,37sec, but just 0,41sec behind Sergey Fesikov (Russia), who opened his evening with a victory in the 100 m freestyle in 46,30sec

“I am happy with my swims” said Townsend. “I managed to match my 100 m freestyle time and was a faster on my IM.”

Townsend will have a tough battle in the 200 m freestyle and 200 m IM this evening.

U.S. star Whitney Myers, who has spent her last week preparing from Pietermaritzburg, was also in great form on the opening night, with two golds, the first in the 200 m IM in a fast 2:09,10 and then in the 200 m backstroke in 2:07,26.

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