Swimming: SA flag flies high at Mare Nostrum

2009-06-16 00:00

THE annual Mare Nostrum came to a close in Monte Carlo on Sunday, and the South African flag was flying high with two more golds and a silver in the sprint events.

Roland Schoeman set a new meet record in the men’s 50m butterfly, where he left the best for last in an exciting swim against Australia’s Andrew Lauterstein, clocking 23,19sec.

Then it was the turn of Gerhard Zandberg in the men’s 50m backstroke where he showed his experience to win in 25,62sec.

Cameron van der Burgh joined in on the medal onslaught to claim a silver in the men’s 50m breaststroke, but was left a little bewildered by Australian Christian Sprenger who stopped the South Africans from winning three in a row. Van der Burgh was in the lead from the start and Sprenger managed to snatch the title in a final lunge at the touchpad in 27,73sec to Van der Burgh’s 27,77sec.

Neil Versfeld finished fourth in the 100m breaststroke final in 1:02,57, won by Sprenger in 1:00,43. On Saturday, Versfeld finished among the medals in the 200m breaststroke in an encouraging 2:13,13 after arriving from the U.S. just 24 hours earlier.

In one of the most exciting finishes, world champion and crowd favourite Alain Bernard (France) found challenger Cullen Jones (U.S.) too good for him in the men’s 50m freestyle. Jones took the title in an outstanding personal best 21,58sec.

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