SA’s top swimmers qualify for Worlds

2015-04-20 00:00

SOUTH Africa’s Rolls Royces of men’s swimming proved their worth at the SA National Aquatic Championships, which ended on Saturday night at the King’s Park Pool in Durban. As the water stilled and the stopwatches were packed away, Myles Brown (200 m, 400 m, 800 m freestyle), Cameron van den Berg (100 m, 200 m breaststroke), Chad le Clos (100 m, 200 m butterfly, 200 m freestyle, 200 m individual medley) and Sebastien Rousseau (200 m butterfly, 400 m individual medley) had met the standard for the World Champs in Russia, with surprise package Ayrton Sweeney (200 m breaststroke) joining them.

Saturday’s finale saw Le Clos save his best for last after what was, by his own admission, a tough week and possibly his worst nationals, when he bagged this third gold medal, touching first in the final of the men’s 100 m butterfly in 52:03, within the qualifying time of 52:36. It was his fourth World Champs qualifying time of the week and other than being beaten by Myles Brown in the 200 m freestyle, he pulled through when it counted and took the honours in the races important to him.

“My main focus has always been the butterfly events and the ­individual medley,” he said. “I took on the 100 m freestyle just to keep the engine running and thus scratched from the final. Time is of the essence as such in my two main events and although I would have liked to be nearer 51 seconds in the 100 m butterfly, the goal of making the Worlds has been achieved and it’s now a case of putting in the work and focusing on my specialist disciplines.”

Sweeney, living up to his first name as a man of speed, just made the qualifying mark in the 200 m breaststroke, stopping the clock in 2:11:64, a mere 0,02 seconds within the qualifying mark of 2:11:66. For him it was a classic case of never giving up and adding value to the adage of hard work paying dividends.

“It’s great to finally secure a Worlds qualifying time. In the past, I have come close and it’s remained just out of reach,” he said.

He made good his opportunity in the absence of Van der Berg, who skipped the final having already done the job in the semis.

Rousseau, who enjoyed a consistent week, signed off with his second Worlds qualifier in the men’s 400 m individual medley and one of the biggest roars on the night was for the timeless Roland Schoeman who won the 50 m men’s freestyle in 22:50, not quite good enough for the qualifying standard of 22:25. Nonetheless, he confirmed his status as the sprint prince of SA swimming.

2015 Fina World Championships Qualifiers

Myles Brown: 200 m, 400 m, 800 m freestyle

Cameron van der Burgh: 100 m, 200 m breaststroke

Ayrton Sweeney: 200 m breaststroke

Chad le Clos: 100 m, 200 m butterfly, 200 m freestyle, 200 m Individual Medley,

Sebastien Rousseau - 200 m butterfly, 400 m Individual Medley

Final team scores

KwaZulu-Natal — 1 639,5

Northern Tigers Swimming — 1 089

Central Gauteng Aquatics — 867

Western Province Aquatics — 830,5

Buffalo City Aquatics — 216.

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