Chad bounces back in Durban

Chad le Clos (Gallo Images)
Chad le Clos (Gallo Images)

Durban - Chad le Clos has stormed to his fourth and fifth titles at the South African National Aquatic Championships with victories in the 100 metres freestyle and 400m individual medley in Durban on Thursday night.

The Olympic gold medallist only recorded one Commonwealth Games qualifying time, though, and was joined by Sebastien Rousseau.

Both men dipped under the required mark of four minutes, 18.99 seconds (4:18.99) in the IM with Le Clos storming to the title in 4:14.81 ahead of Rousseau (4:18.17), who made a qualifying time for the first time this week.

Ayrton Sweeney (4:19.77) was a close third.

Earlier in the evening, Le Clos won the 100m freestyle dash in 49.38 seconds, narrowly outside the 48.93 qualifying time, while he was only seventh fastest qualifier in the 100m butterfly semi-final.

"I said from the start this was going to be the hardest day for me because of the 400 IM there at the end," Le Clos said afterwards.

"I tried to just get through that 100 free earlier in the evening, you obviously can't hold back in that race, and in the 100 fly semi I tried to conserve as much as I could.

"So it worked out well for me." He will now bid to equal the seven-gold medal haul at a nationals, held by his coach Graham Hill and Olympic 200m breaststroke silver medallist from Sydney 2000, Terence Parkin.

"Three tough races are out the way and I have two more to go tomorrow," said Le Clos, whose younger brother Jordan swam in the 400 IM final and came in eighth.

The 21-year-old was also pleased for Rousseau.

"I'm really happy that Seb got the time," he added.

"He's been around for a long time and he needed that. There's no one more deserving than him."

Rousseau himself was equally relieved having missed out on qualification in the 200 metres freestyle earlier in the week.

"All I wanted to do was get a qualifying time, so it's a huge relief," he said.

"It wasn't a pretty race or a great time, but I made the team and I'm really happy about that."

Brett Walsh took silver in the 100m free style with a time of 50.17, while bronze went to Leith Shankland (50.23).

Elsewhere on Thursday, Cameron van der Burgh was the fastest qualifier in the 50m breaststroke semis with a time of 27.05, with Charl Crous (54.90) fastest in the 100m backstroke and Nico Meyer (54.80) quickest in the 100m butterfly.

Brent Szurdoki won the only other men's title on offer when he swam to gold in the 800m freestyle after a time of 8:11.42.

Among the women, Marne Erasmus took the 100m butterfly title in 59.43, but missed the qualifying time of 58.89 as she ended ahead of Vanessa Mohr (59.92) and Rene Warnes (1:02.26).

Michelle Weber clinched the 800m freestyle gold in 8:46.16, well off the necessary 8:34.33 time, with Caitlin Kat (8:49.23) scooping silver and Kyna Pereira (8:58.12) bronze.

In semi-final races, Jessica Ashley-Cooper (29.19), Franko Jonker (1:09.02) and Trudi Maree (25.66) were fastest in the 50m backstroke, 100m breaststroke and 50m freestyle respectively.

The six-day competition at the Kings Park Aquatics Centre is doubling up as the official qualification event for the July 23 to August 3 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and all swimmers must record the stipulated times if they want to make the team.

Results from the evening session on day four of the South African National Aquatic Championships at Kings Park, in Durban, on Thursday:

Men's 50 metres breaststroke semi-final 1:
1. Giulio Zorzi 27.85
2. Jared Pike 28.61
3. Jarred Crous 28.87

Men's 50 metres breaststroke semi-final 2:
1. Cameron van der Burgh 27.05
2. Brad Tandy 28.72
3. Marko Visser 28.85

Men's 100 metres freestyle final (Commonwealth Games Qualifying Time 48.93):
1. Chad le Clos 49.38
2. Brett Walsh 50.17
3. Leith Shankland 50.23

Men's 100 metres backstroke semi-final 1 (CGQT 54.43):
1. Charl Crous 54.90
2. Ricky Ellis 55.34
3. Christopher Reid 56.31

Men's 100 metres backstroke semi-final 2:
1. Darren Murray 55.40
2. Neil de Villiers 56.41
3. Bryan Gray 56.56

Men's 100 metres butterfly semi-final 1 (CGQT 52.57):
1. Nico Meyer 54.80
2. Daniel Ronaldson 55.75
3. Chad le Clos 55.85

Men's 100 metres butterfly semi-final 2:
1. Joshua Steyn 54.84
2. Ryan Coetzee 55.02
3. Brett Walsh 55.53

Men's 400 metres individual medley (CGQT 4:18.99):
1. Chad le Clos 4:14.81*
2. Sebastien Rousseau 4:18.17*
3. Ayrton Sweeney 4:19.77

Men's 800 metres freestyle:
1. Brent Szurdoki 8:11.42
2. Danie Marais 8:19.37
3. Matthew Meyer 8:21.93

Women's 100 metres butterfly (CGQT 58.89):
1. Marne Erasmus 59.43
2. Vanessa Mohr 59.92
3. Rene Warnes 1:02.26

Women's 50 metres backstroke semi-final 1:
1. Jessica Ashley-Cooper 29.19
2. Naomi Ruele 30.17
3. Janneke Malan 30.33

Women's 50 metres backstroke semi-final 2:
1. Jamie Reynolds 29.98
2. Lehesta Kemp 30.02
3. Rita Naude 30.34

Women's 100 metres breaststroke semi-final 1 (CGQT 1:08.63):
1. Tara Nicholas 1:09.05
2. Tatjana Schoenmaker 1:10.53
3. Emily Visagie 1:12.51

Women's 100 metres breaststroke semi-final 2:
1. Franko Jonker 1:09.02
2. Justine Macfarland 1:09.33
3. Daniela Lindemeier 1:11.43

Women's 50 metres freestyle semi-final 1 (CGQT 25.34):
1. Lehesta Kemp 26.12
2. Marne Erasmus 26.68
3. Erin Gallagher 26.74

Women's 50 metres freestyle semi-final 2:
1. Trudi Maree 25.66
2. Jessica Ashley-Cooper 26.33
3. Emma Chelius 26.64

Women's 800 metres freestyle (CGQT 8:34.33):
1. Michelle Weber 8:46.16
2. Caitlin Kat 8:49.23
3. Kyna Pereira 8:58.12

*Denotes Commonwealth Games qualifying time

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