Maritzburg’s Townsend breaks African 200 m freestyle record

2009-11-06 00:00

PIETERMARITZBURG Olympian Darian Townsend raced to a new African and South African record in the men’s 200 m freestyle in the Finnish Open Swim Meet at the weekend.

Townsend has been chasing the 200 m freestyle record held by Ryk Neethling for some time, having just missed the 1:42,75 target by a fraction at the Fina World Cup in Durban in October. This time he touched under the mark in 1:42,01.

“I really didn’t expect to swim so fast in the 200 free.

“I went in with the mindset that I was going to race the second-seed guy in the first 100 m and then try pull away from him in the second 100 m, but when I saw the gap I had on him at the 50 m already, I decided to go for it.

“I was still very shocked to see the time at the end.

“It goes to show, it happens when you least expect it,” said Townsend on Sunday.

“I went out a little easier than usual, in fact slower than the first 50 m butterfly in the 200 m IM. The IM was almost straight after the 200 free, but I made the most of the time I had between the two to eat a little and warm down.

“There was no one close to me in the actual race so I am pleased with the time considering I was alone at the front.

“It is also nice to dip under the 1:53 barrier again, something I haven’t done since Berlin last year.”

The Seals star clocked 1:52,89 for the 200 m IM. He won two further gold medals on the Saturday, taking the 100m freestyle in 47,34sec and the 100m IM in a respectable 51,96sec, closing in a little more on that elusive world record of 51,15sec and another of Neethling’s Africa marks of 51,51sec.

Townsend will now turn his attention back to the World Cup circuit that follows in Russia this weekend, then to Stockholm, Berlin and Singapore where the competition will certainly be at an extremely tough level.

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