Townsend sets fire to final day of champs

2012-08-20 00:00

CITY star Darian Townsend raced to his fourth World Champs qualifying time with another outstanding performance on the final day of the South African Short Course Swimming Championships that ended at the GC Jolliffe Pool in Pietermaritzburg last night.

Townsend showed his versatility once again when he clocked up a fast 1:55,61 in the men’s 200 metres individual medley (IM), well under the qualifying mark of 1:59,39 and wrapping up a successful championships with a total of four qualifying times — including the 100 metres individual medley, 100 metres freestyle and 200 metres freestyle.

Joining Townsend with one of his best tournaments to date, was 32-year-old veteran Olympic gold medallst Roland Schoeman.

Schoeman was in outstanding form as he added his fifth qualifying time with a dash of speed in the men’s 50 metres freestyle, clocking 21,33 seconds.

Schoeman mixed it with the likes of recent Olympic gold medallist Cameron van der Burgh in the men’s 50 metres breaststroke.

World record holder Van der Burgh won in 26,58 seconds ahead of training partner Guilio Zorzi in 27,19 seconds while Schoeman ended in third spot just 0,01 seconds off.

Even fourth placed Neil Versfeld dipped under the 27,78 seconds qualifying time with 27,43.

The men continued to race to qualifying times as Garth Tune gave an outstanding performance in the 50 metres backstroke to take the gold in 24,54 seconds, ahead of Darren Murray who clocked 25,18 seconds.

But Murray bounced back with more brilliance as he took the 200 metres backstroke title comfortably to record his fourth qualifying time (QT) in 1:55,86.

Michael Meyer, who qualified in the morning heats of the 200 metres IM and opted to make an attempt at the 200 metres backstroke, ended just outside the mark in 1:57,23.

Then it was the turn of young Myles Brown to rise to the occasion in the men’s 1 500 metres freestyle. Two days earlier he missed the 400 metres freestyle QT by just 0,22 seconds, but this time was overjoyed as he swam out on his own to clock 15:05,45 and get 1,39 seconds under the mark.

The women were not outdone by the men at all as veteran Mandy Loots produced an outstanding finish in the 100 metres butterfly.

Marné Erasmus (16) is half her age and Loots closed in on the final length to dead-heat for the gold and clock up a qualifying time in 59,55 seconds.

Then it was the turn of Jessica Pengelly and Kathryn Meaklim to both push each other to World Short Course qualifying times in the 200 metres IM.

Pengelly showed a welcome return to form as she took the title in 2:11,61 with Meaklim chasing her all the way to take the silver in 2:12,19. Pengelly later finished second in the 200 metres backstroke in 2:11,43 to Jessica Ashley-Cooper who won in 2:10,68.

Altogether 19 swimmers managed qualifying times over the four days while a few other swimmers began to make their mark.

René Warnes produced her best result to date by winning the women’s 200 metres freestyle in an encouraging 2:01,05 with Kyna Pereira close in 2:01,13.

Kelly Gunnell took the 100 metres breaststroke title in 1:10,36 ahead of Erin Anderson in 1:10,41 while local swimmer Tara Nicholas took the bronze in 1:10,58 for a very close finish.

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