Schoeman struggles at Fina

2009-08-01 00:00

SOUTH AFRICA’S hopes of another medal lie with Gerhard Zandberg, who enters the water for the first time today to defend his men’s 50m backstroke title from Melbourne on the seventh day of the Fina World Swimming Championships in Rome.

Zandberg won in 2007 and has come to Rome for only this one event. He is relaxed, has stayed out of the heat, and is ready to go.

The men’s 50m freestyle got the crowd going early yesterday for the sixth day of the championships. Both Roland Schoeman and Graeme Moore made it through to the semi-finals.

For Schoeman, a 21,85sec dash was not really the time he was hoping for as he struggled to find his form among the incredible depth in world sprinting at present.

But emerging for South Africa, which has produced a host of leading sprinters, Moore raced to 16th spot in 22,04sec.

In the semi-final, Moore went up a notch to tie for 11th spot with an outstanding 21,72sec — just 0,05sec outside Schoeman’s national mark.

A disappointed Schoeman finished with a rough 21,76sec.

The men’s 4 x 200m freestyle relay team comprising Jean Basson, Darian Townsend, Jasper Venter and Sebastien Roussouw did well to squeeze into the final that ended the sixth day on a high note.

The Americans broke the 35th world record of the championships with a 6:58,55, but the South Africans took the Africa and SA record with their 7:08,01 morning swim, finishing just outside this time for their eighth place in the final in 7:08,52.

Wendy Trott was just outside her women’s 800m freestyle record in qualifying for the final. So her record of 8:26,21 is in danger after her 8:27,26 in the heats yesterday.

In the women’s 100m freestyle, Germany’s Britta Steffen sliced 0,15sec off the world record in a fast 52,05sec, with the silver, surprisingly, going to Fran Halsall (Great Britain) in 52,87sec as she beat favourite Libby Trickett (Australia) by just 0,04sec into third spot.

Aaron Peirsol (USA) raced to an amazing world record of 1:51,92 to recapture the 200m backstroke crown that he lost to team-mate Ryan Lochte in 2007, making amends slightly for missing the 100m backstroke final earlier in the week.

Ace sprinter Marleen Veldhuis (Netherlands) smashed the world record in the first semi of the women’s 50m butterfly with a 25,28sec sprint.

Next up was Therese Alshammar (Sweden) who hit back with another solid swim in 25,07sec — setting up an amazing duel for this evening.

The women’s 200m breaststroke had a surprise winner in Nadja Higl in 2:21,62, the silver and bronze going to Annamay Pierse (Canada) in 2:21,84 and Mirna Jukic (Austria) in 2:21,97.

The man who Michael Phelps out-touched in the men’s 100m butterfly at the Olympics last year is determined to make up for his loss.

Milorad Cavic (Serbia) raced to a brilliant 50,01sec world record time in the second semi-final.

The first semi was won by Phelps (USA) in 50,48sec. The rematch of Beijing is on, but Bob Bowman, mentor to the multiple Olympic champion, has likened the fight to a handicap horse race due to the racing suits.


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