Port Elizabeth - After a two-day hiatus the SA Swimming Championships got under way on Thursday with four-time Olympian Roland Schoeman tightening his stronghold in the 50m butterfly.
He staved off a challenge from Chad le Clos, touching the wall in a time of 23.11 seconds.
Le Clos finished in second place clocking 23.72 seconds, with Nico Meyer taking the bronze medal in 24.64 seconds.
“World Championships is the big one and to go 23.11 in this pool with the circumstances what happens at worlds?” Schoeman said.
“This time would have gotten me silver at the 2011 world championships, so that is pretty exciting.”
Both swimmers set FINA qualifying times but South Africa will have to qualify in Olympic events if they want to compete in the non-Olympic events - the 50m breaststroke, butterfly and backstroke - at the FINA World Championships, in Barcelona, in July.
Schoeman's time was the second fastest time in the world so far this season and he felt this boded well for his chances in the 50m freestyle event.
“With the training programme I am on and there is still life in this body and I still love what I am doing,” the 32-year-old Schoeman said.
Le Clos, the Olympic 200m butterfly champion, was disappointed with his performance but was nevertheless pleased with swimming a personal best in the event.
“That wasn't very good, look it is a PB for me, but I hoped to be a lot closer to Roland,” Le Clos said.
Earlier, Le Clos narrowly missed the qualifying time in the 200m freestyle by 0.21 seconds when he beat training partner Myles Brown for the title in a time of 1:48.63.
Brown, who missed out on qualifying for the world championships by 0.25 seconds in the men's 400m freestyle event, touched in a time of 1:49.46, with Calvyn Justus taking third place clocking 1:51.39.
Former men's 50m backstroke world record holder Gerhard Zandberg made his return to the pool after a three-year break, missing the qualifying standard by less than a second in the men's 100m backstroke.
He secured the title in a time of 55.17 seconds, with Darren Murray clinching the silver medal clocking 55.84 seconds and Ricky Ellis finishing third in 56.34 seconds.
Olympian Suzaan van Biljon, who finished seventh in the final of the women's 200m breaststroke, scratched due to illness which saw a new champion crowned in the 100m breaststroke.
The 17-year-old Tara Nicholas grabbed the title 1:09.99 with Justine Macfarlane finishing behind her in 1:11.28, while Marlies Ross was third in a time of 1:11.61.
Meanwhile, Paralympic Charl Bouwer smashed the world record in the 200m freestyle in the S13 classification on Thursday.
The 23-year-old visually impaired swimmer touched the wall in a time of one minute, 56.78 seconds (1:56.78) slashing Belarusian Ihar Boki's record by nearly five seconds.
“I'm really happy. It's obviously my best time ever,” Bouwer said.
“After the Paralympics I didn't stop training, I kept on and I can see that was a wise choice.”
Bouwer said he had no plans of breaking the record but rather had a personal score to settle with his roommate.
“For me, it was just to beat my friend, Ruben Cloete, so today in our room it was really tense.
“If you want to go for a world record it's a lot of stress so for me I'm just happy I did my best and I got it so it's really nice.”
He said he would now set his sights on the 100m freestyle world record, the event he finished in second place at the London Paralympics.
1. Roland Schoeman 23.11 seconds
2. Chad le Clos 23.72
3. Nico Meyer 24.64
1. Jarred Crous 1:03.07
2. Giulio Zorzi 1:03.39
3. Jared Pike 1:04.05
1. Gerhard Zandberg 55.17 seconds
2. Darrne Murray 55.84
3. Ricky Ellis 56.34
1. Chad le Clos 1:48.63
2. Myles Browne 1:49.46
3. Calvyn Justus 1:51.39
1. Trudi Maree 26.09 seconds
2. Jessica Ashley-Cooper 26.11
3. Lehesta Kemp/Karin Prinsloo 26.18
1. Vanessa Mohr 1:00.82
2. Marne Erasmus 1:00.99
3. Rene Warnes 1:02.38
1. Tara Nicholas 1:09.99
2. Justine Mcfarlane 1:11.28
3. Marlies Ross 1:11.61
200m individual medley:
1. Marlies Ross 2:18.57
2. Rene Warnes 2:18.68
3. Jolandi Els 2:20.68