Du Rand surprised by record
George du Rand (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg – George du Rand added his name to an elite list of South African swimming stars when he broke the 200m world backstroke short course record in Moscow on Saturday night.
The 27-year-old from Pretoria clocked a time of 1:47.08 to smash Markus Rogan’s world record by 0.76 seconds.
Du Rand can now be mentioned in the same breath as other South African success stories such as Penny Heyns, Roland Schoeman, Cameron van der Burgh and his coach, Ryk Neethling.
Even more remarkable is that Du Rand improved his previous best time by more than two seconds.
Du Rand set an African record of 1:49.53 in Durban three weeks ago. It was then already a significant improvement of almost two seconds on his personal best.
Earlier this year, he smashed the African record in the long course 50m pool in Rome.
“I am surprised,” Du Rand told the FINA website.
“We worked very hard, but I did not expect such a reward. I've been very successful the past year and I hope it will continue.”
The Moscow meeting was a big success for the South African team. Five members of the team won gold medals.
Cameron van der Burgh won the 50m and 100m breaststroke, setting world records of 25.58 and 56.36 respectively. He also finished the second day as the best male swimmer of the meeting.
Roland Schoeman’s 25.80 for the silver in the 50m breaststroke made him the second best swimmer of the weekend. He also set world records for gold in the 50m butterfly (22.30) and 50m freestyle (20.88).
Darian Townsend won the 200m individual medley in an African record time of 1:52.93, while Neil Versfeld won the 200m breaststroke in 2:04.15.
The 20-year-old Chanelle van Wyk is also going from strength to strength. She broke her African record in the 100m backstroke by a massive 1.37 seconds to 58.33 and set a South African record of 26.89 in the 50m backstroke on Friday.
It is only four-hundredths of a second slower than Kirsty Coventry’s African record.
Other medal winners were Lyndon Ferns (silver in the 100m butterfly and bronze in the 50m butterfly), Kathryn Meaklim (silver in the 400m individual medley), Chad le Clos (silver in the 200m butterfly and 400m individual medley) and Townsend (bronze in the 200m freestyle and silver in the 100m individual medley).