Commonwealth Games

SA 'golden relay' reach final

2010-10-04 08:17
Roland Schoeman (File)

New Delhi - After the hype of the opening ceremony, South Africa's swimmers were literally quick out of the blocks as they took to the water on day one of the Commonwealth Games and produced five qualifiers for Monday's 'A' finals.

Sebastien Rousseau and Chad le Clos both produced fine performances in their heats to book spots in the 200m butterfly final, Mark Randall and Jean Basson did likewise in the 400m freestyle and the 4x100m team, defending Commonwealth champions, are also safely through after placing third behind Australia and England for Monday night's final.

Rousseau has suddenly loomed as a major medal prospect after winning his heat in 1min 57.45sec, which was second fastest of the morning, though it has to be said you could throw a blanket over qualifiers second to eighth, with six inside 1:58.

One of those was Le Clos, on 1:57.45.

The big surprise of the 200m butterfly was the elimination of strong gold medal favourite, Nick D'Arcy, which makes the evening final even more of a lottery, but the good news is South Africa were holding two tickets.

In the 400m freestyle, Mark Randall clocked 3:51.40 in winning his heat for fifth quickest overall, while Olympian Jean Basson was involved in a tough heat which included Canada's gold medal favourite Ryan Cochrane.

Basson stuck to his task gamely to finish third in 3:53.06, which was seventh fastest of the morning.

The 4x100m team should be boosted by the appearance of Roland Schoeman for the final but likely team-mates Gideon Louw, Darian Townsend and Graeme Moore all looked in good nick as they qualified third in 3:18.94, with Australia claiming lane four in 3:15.18 and England showing up as a threat with 3:17.60.

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