Seals scoop medals

2013-04-20 00:00

PIETERAMRITZBURG swim star Tara Nicholas overcame unfortunate pool conditions to strike gold twice at the South African Senior Swimming Championships in Port Elizabeth this week.

Nicholas raced to a remark­able victory in the Women’s 100 m breaststroke on Thursday to stretch her lead on the second length to clock an outstanding 1:09,99.

Early leader Marlies Ross was out a little hard after she had to settle for third place in 1:11,61 while Justine Macfarlane stole the silver medal in 1:11,28.

The Seals swimmer added a second gold medal by taking the 50 m breaststroke event yesterday, touching in 32,81 seconds ahead of the challenging Kelly Gunnell in 33,39 and Macfarlane very close in 33,51.

With the women’s 200 m breaststroke this morning, Nicholas will aim at a full house. Her opposition will be Ross and Macfarlane as usual.

On the disastrous opening day, the first local medal went to Mark Randall (Seals) in the men’s 400 m freestyle. he took the silver in 3:57,31.

Randall had to withdraw from the rest of the week due to illness. It was then Seals Olympian Neil Versfeld who took another silver medal yesterday in the men’s 50 m breaststroke.

The Durban-based star clocked 28,36 behind Guilio Zorzi, who edged ahead to win in 27,80. Warren Karsten was third in 29,10 All these swimmers took advantage of the absence of world record holder and Olympic champion Cameron van der Burgh, who left after the 100 m event for Europe.

All eyes were on Olympic champion Chad le Clos who lived up to expectations.

Le Clos was out on his own in the men’s 200 m butterfly, where he continued to clock world championship qualifying times with a solid 1:56,35.

Last night he added the men’s 100 m freestyle to his tally with another brilliantly paced race. Up against training partner Leith Shankland, Le Clos used his superior finish to edge ahead by 0,49 to clock an astonishing 48,95 seconds.

Other winners last night were world champion Gerhard Zandberg, who showed outstanding form in the men’s 50 m backstroke, clocking a fast 24,88 seconds. Michael Meyer won the men’s 200 m IM in an encouraging 2:01,69.

In the women’s events, Kyna Pereira won the 800 m freestyle in 8:48. Rene Warnes won the 200 m butterfly in an improving 2:15,41 and Jessica Ashley-Cooper won the 50 m backstroke in 29 seconds.

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