World, African records fall as 19 SA swimmers qualify for Rome

2009-04-19 00:00

Riaan Schoeman left his best for last with an outstanding record performance on the final night of the Telkom SA National Aquatics Championships at the King’s Park Pool in Durban last night.

The versatile 19-year-old raced to a fast 4:12,07 in the men’s 400m individual medley to record his second World Championship qualifying time. At the same time he bettered his own SA record of 4:14,06 set at the Olympics last year as well as the African mark held by Oussama Mellouli in 4:13,47. Joining him with another outstanding performance was 17-year-old Chad le Clos who qualified for Rome with a 4:16,55.

“I felt good going into the race and my backstroke has really come along recently, which has helped my performances in the medley,” said Schoeman, who just missed out on qualifying for Rome in the 200 metres backstroke, posting 2:00,10 (the required mark is 1:59.85).

“I knew Chad (le Clos) would be really fast in the final, knowing he qualified for the world championships in the morning session.”

Having broken the world record in the 50 metres breaststroke semi-finals in 27.06 sec on Saturday night, Cameron van der Burgh had little trouble in winning the final in 27,30 sec while other SA swimmers continued to post world championship qualifying times. Roland Schoeman (23,15 sec) and Graeme Moore (23,67 sec) took the top spots in the 50m butterfly final with Kathryn Meaklim (4:38,04) and Jessica Pengelly (4:42,05) qualifying in the women’s 400 metres individual medley, won by Zimbabwean Kirsty Coventry in 4:35,25.

Eastern Province’s Kevin Paul recorded his second world record within a day,clocking 31,16 sec in the 50 metres breaststroke. Earlier he clocked 31,51 sec to better his previous world mark of 32,09.

The upset of the evening’s swimming came in the 100 metres backstroke final, where Charl van Zyl pipped Olympic star George du Rand by 0,13 sec in 55,25 sec. Du Rand redeemed himself later, starting off the relay with a fast 54,67 sec.

The women’s 100 m backstroke saw world record holder Coventry an easy winner and the first female to break 60 sec at King’s Park, clocking 59,94 sec.

Nineteen SA swimmers posted world championship A standard qualifying performances at the championships in Durban. The concern is that only four women managed to achieve the times set for Rome.

Qualifiers: Men: Darian Townsend, Roland Schoeman, Lyndon Ferns, Sebastien Rousseau, Cameron van der Burgh, Jean Basson, Neil Versfeld, William Diering, George du Rand, Jasper Venter, Charl van Zyl, Tiaan Schoeman, Graeme Moore, Gerhard Zandberg and Chad Le Clos.

Women: Wendy Trott, Kathryn Meaklim, Jessica Pengelly and Chanelle van Wyk.

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