Johannesburg - South Africa enjoyed a successful early session at the 15th Fina world championships on Tuesday with Cameron van der Burgh, Giulio Zorzi, and Chad le Clos qualifying for the semi-finals of their respective events.
Van der Burgh and Zorzi went through in the 50m breaststroke, while Le Clos advanced in the men’s 200m butterfly.
Olympic 100m breaststroke champion Van der Burgh topped the qualifiers and came very close to breaking his own world record as he won his heat in a time of 26.78 seconds, while Zorzi had the sixth-fastest time in 27.37.
Van der Burgh, who won silver on Monday night in the 100m breaststroke, said he felt good.
"With the work that I did over the last year I am better suited for the 50m," said Van der Burgh.
"The 100m is my mistress that I cheat with over the 50m sprint. She is always good to me and I always come back to her."
Zorzi, who is only swimming in the 50m breaststroke, said the experience from his first long course world championships would help him further.
"It definitely has added to my experience of swimming at the top level. Usually I struggle in the mornings, so I am just very happy to have set a PB, it was a nice start to the competition and it is my only swim here, so I’ll try my best."
Le Clos is the second fastest qualifier for the men’s 200m butterfly semi-finals.
He said he learnt from his failure to make the 50m butterfly semi-finals.
"The 50m was a very bad race for me, I can learn from that. I don’t think I was focused and that’s a mistake I made.
"I think I have a fear of swimming in the morning because I always get so nervous. It’s a very open field for tonight’s semi and it’s going to be very hard to make the final tonight.
"There are a lot of people out there that can beat me, but I’ll fight till the end like I always do. At the moment it’s nervous for me, because I am the one to beat as Michael isn’t here."
Myles Brown and Karin Prinsloo failed to progress in their races.
Brown, who swam in the fastest heat of the men’s 800m freestyle, finished 16th-fastest with a new personal best of 7:57.69 but was disappointed after the race.
"It did not feel as great as the 400 and I was hoping to break Ryk Neethling’s record. The final is going to be very fast and I was hoping to get into it, but I guess it was not my day."
United States swimmer Conor Jaeger is the fastest qualifier followed by China’s Sun Yang and Canadian Ryan Cochrane.
Karin Prinsloo finished 19th in a time of 1.58.15 in the women’s 200m freestyle, just 0.62 outside her own SA record of 1.58.53.
France’s Camille Muffat, Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu, and Italy’s Federica Pelligrini are the fastest qualifiers for Tuesday's semi-final.