Townsend misses Games mark
Darian Townsend (Gallo Images)
Durban - Darian Townsend had a disappointing night at the SA Swimming Championships and Olympic Trials in Durban on Wednesday, but there was joy for Charl Crous after he edged closer to securing his place at the London Games.
Athens gold medallist Townsend won the 200m freestyle at the Kings Park Pool, clinching the title in 1:47.88, but his time was 0.06 seconds outside the qualifying standard of 1:47.82.
Fellow KwaZulu-Natal swimmer Crous delivered a second successive A-standard time within the space of 24 hours, winning the men's 100m backstroke gold medal in 54.17 seconds.
The 21-year-old, who raced through his semi-final in 54.19 the day before, was again inside the required 54.40 qualifying mark as he edged out Darren Murray (54.80) and Ricky Ellis (56.16).
“I knew I had a lot of confidence coming into tonight's final,” Crous said.
“After doing it in yesterday's semi-final, my coach, family and friends had a lot of confidence in me, so I'm very chuffed to have done that time.”
Townsend, meanwhile, had previously dipped under the 'A'-standard time in the 400m freestyle, but needed to do it again this week to meet stringent qualifying criteria and guarantee selection in his event.
“Obviously missing the time is a little bit disappointing, but I still have the 200m IM (individual medley), which is my main event, and the 100m freestyle,” said the 27-year-old, who won the 4x100m relay gold medal at the 2004 Beijing Games alongside Roland Schoeman, Lyndon Ferns, and Ryk Neethling.
Townsend has already set an 'A'-standard time in the 200m IM.
“To be honest, my best shot of getting a medal in London is going to be the 200m IM and the 4x100m freestyle relay and this event (200m freestyle) actually clashes with that relay," he said.
“It would have been a tough decision to make, but now that decision is kind of made for me.”
Elsewhere on Wednesday, two other swimmers set 'A'-standard times - Chad le Clos and Kathryn Meaklim.
Le Clos delivered a dominant performance in the 200m butterfly semifinal to qualify quickest for the final with a 1:55.30, comfortably within the required 1:56.86.
Meaklim topped the 200m IM qualifiers in the semi-finals with a time of 2:13.33, 0.03 seconds inside the qualifying standard of 2:13.36.
There was disappointment for Suzaan van Biljon as she narrowly missed out on an 'A'-standard time on her way to winning the 100m breaststroke title in 1:08.76, just outside the qualifying mark of 1:08.48.
No South African swimmer won a medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.