Port Elizabeth - Olympic gold medallist Chad le Clos and training partner Myles Brown both qualified for the World Championships at the SA Championships on the third day of swimming on Friday.
Le Clos, the Olympic 200m butterfly champion, won his specialist event in a time of one minute, 56.35 seconds (1:56.35), the second-fastest time of the season, to secure his place at the global championships, along with fellow Olympic medallist Cameron van der Burgh.
The 21-year-old said while he was content with reaching the qualifying time, he had hoped to have gone faster.
"We wanted to go 1:55 but we said if I go 1:56 low it wouldn’t be a disaster, but there is a lot of things I had to work on coming to nationals," Le Clos said.
"The last 50m was very slow and I died over the last 25 metres, but it is nothing to be overly concerned about. I am about the same time I was last year in the final (at the SA championships). It is still a long time to go to the world championships. I am just excited to be back in training."
Van der Burgh already booked his place in Monday night’s semi-final of the 100m breaststroke when he swam a qualifying time of 1:00.71.
Brown, one of the country’s rising stars, overcame his disappointment from missing out on the qualifying time in the 400m freestyle by 0.25 seconds on Monday, to reach the mark in the 800m freestyle event.
The 20-year-old took control of the race from the start. The crowd spurred him on as he devoured the laps.
As Brown stopped the clock on 7:58.22 the relief was palpable as he qualified for his first world championships.
"I wouldn't say I was feeling the pressure, but the nerves start building up and you start running out of races to qualify," Brown said.
"Swimming my personal best in the morning, I couldn't be happier."
Second behind him was Ayrton Sweeney in a time of 8:16.79, while Chad Ho clinched the bronze medal in 8:21.68.
In the 50m breaststroke Giulio Zorzi was in fine form on the third day of swimming when he set a Fina qualifying time of 27.80 seconds only three weeks after he had a leg cast removed.
"I haven’t done long course for quite some time. I am coming off an injury, I tore the ligaments in my ankle, I had two months out in a cast so I am really happy with the times," Zorzi said.
"So, I am really happy with my progress in terms of recovery."
Neil Versfeld won silver in a time of 28.36 seconds, with Warren Karsten finishing third in 29.10 seconds.
Zorzi, 24, said training with Olympic 100m breastroke champion Cameron van der Burgh had been a perfect fit.
"It is great to think when you are racing against him he has four world records, long course and short course. He is an Olympic champion.
"You couldn’t have a better guy to race against and to watch because you can learn so much.
"I also try to push him sometimes, especially on his off days, because not everyone can always be on top of things."