Natalie du Toit smashes world record at SA Short Course Champs

2010-08-09 00:00

SWIM sensation Natalie du Toit shattered another world record in her disability category as a number of Olympians continued with outstanding performances on the third day of the Telkom South Africa Short Course Swimming Championships at the ­GC Jolliffe Pool in Pietermaritzburg yesterday.

Du Toit clocked up a fast 1:07,80 for the 100 m butterfly to smash the old record by almost five seconds. The 26-year-old leaves for the IPC World Para-Olympic Championships in Eindhoven in Holland later this week, along with locally trained Sean Clark, who has also performed well over the championships.

Clark (Seals) has improved on all of his events and raced to his fourth title in the 100 m butterfly, clocking a fast 1:07,29. Jennifer Higgins (Sunday Tribune Penguins) was also among the records when she broke the South African Downs record in the 100 m butterfly, clocking 1:41,29.

Among the able-bodied swimmers, it was Georgia-based Wendy Trott who excelled with two World Championship qualifying times. The first came on Saturday evening when she broke the Africa and South African record in the women’s 800 m freestyle, touching in 8:23,29.

Trott showed her strength again yesterday in the 400 m freestyle with a qualifying time (QT), of 4:06,28.

There were a number of extremely close and exciting races to open the racing for the evening.

The women’s 100 m freestyle was a touch-and-go affair between Leone Vorster and Karin Prinsloo as they both have been chasing QT’s for the World Short Course Championships.

Vorster, as she did on Saturday in winning the 100 m backstroke, edged out Prinsloo marginally by 0,14sec to take the gold in 55,15sec — but just outside the QT.

Then it was the turn of the men’s 100 m freestyle where Graeme Moore and Lyndon Ferns were expected to have a huge battle. They did not disappoint as Moore touched out Ferns by 0,02sec in 48,67sec — but outside the QT. Moore had managed a 47,93sec in the semi-final that was under the QT.

World record holder Cameron van der Burgh started the QTs tumbling in the men’s 100 m breaststroke as he left his opposition trailing by two seconds to stop the watches in a fast 58,28sec. William Diering took the silver in 1:00,84 with Neil Versfeld the bronze in 1:01,27.

Van der Burgh later clocked up 27,07sec in the semi-finals of the 50 m breaststroke, well under the QT and the clear favourite for the final this afternoon.

The next QT to tumble was in the men’s 100 m individual medley where Gerhard Zandberg made a welcome return to form. Apart from his QT in the 100 m backstroke, Zandberg took the title in 53,57sec to edge out Pietermaritzburg star Darian Townsend, who also dipped under the QT in 54,62sec.

Chanelle van Wyk managed to get under the QT in the semi-finals of the women’s 50 m backstroke once again. The talented sprinter clocked an exciting 27,96sec and should have little trouble in repeating this performance this afternoon.

The heats get under way at 9.30 am and the finals at 2 pm for the final day of the competition today.

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