Cape Town - South Africa's swim stars penciled their names in for the Rio Olympic team
short list after producing spectacular performances on the opening night
of the SA National Aquatic Championships held at the Kings Park
Aquatics Centre in Durban.
The phenomenal spectator support added to the electric atmosphere as a
new African Record, four Olympic and two Paralympic qualification times
Sebastien Rousseau and Michael Meyer dominated the 400m individual
medley with SA’s first two Olympic qualification times of the
Rousseau’s time of 4:14.75 edged out Meyer’s 4:15.71, both dipping under
the required 4:16.71, while Ayrton Sweeney won the bronze in 4:24.48.
In the tightly contested 400m freestyle, Myles Brown came from behind to
scoop the gold with an Olympic qualification time of 3:48.86, just
0.07 ahead of Egypt’s Marwan Elkamash in 3:48.93, both going under
the set 3:50.40, with Brent Szurdoki winning the bronze in 3:52.34.
Cameron van der Burgh did not disappoint in the 100m breaststroke semi-finals.
Van der Burgh, who holds the Olympic gold in the event, raced ahead of
the pack in an Olympic qualification time of 59.69, with Jarred Crous
coming in a close second in 1:00.88, just under 0.31 of the 1:00.57
requirement. The final of the event will be held on Monday.
In the 100m butterfly semi-finals, Marne Erasmus, Vanessa Mohr and
Jessica Ashley-Cooper took the top three positions for Monday night’s
final in 1:00.16, 1:00.71 and 1:01.11 respectively, while the gold in
the 400m individual medley final went to Marlies Ross in 4:50.26, the
silver to Kirsty McLauchlan in 4:53.98 and the bronze to youngster
Rebecca Meder in 4:57.06.
A strong Paralympian contingent will be expected at the Rio Paralympic
Games after an outstanding performance where two Qualifying times and an
African record were set.
Kevin Paul (SM10) was first to race to a Paralympic qualification time
in the 200m individual medley, winning the event in 2:15.78, to the
required 2:17.20, with Johann van Heerden finishing second in 2:28.22
and Jean Pretorius third in 2:33.84.
Alani Ferreira (SM13) was next in the water, also in the 200m individual
medley, clocking a new African record and setting a Paralympic
qualification time of 2:50.43, over two seconds under the 2:52.27
standard and taking just under eight seconds off Marike Naude’s 2011
record time of 2:58.10.
Shannon Martins won the silver in 3:26.95 and Michelle Bloem the bronze in 3:26.97.
In the S14 and S15 multi-disability 200m individual medley, Challis
Wright claimed the gold in 2:25.46 ahead of Aaron Putz in 2:30.16 and
Raymond de Freitas in 2:38.94, while on the ladies side, Christelle
Kriel came first in 2:47.07, Michaela Kretzen was second in 3:04.87 and
Cornelia Fowler third in 3:36.18.
In the 'B' Finals, Christoff Ras was first in the 400m individual medley
in 4:39.02, while Andrew Brown came in second with a time of 4:40.82 and
Luke Erwee third in 4:42.67. In the 400m freestyle, Reynier Pretorius
took the gold in 4:06.54 while the silver and bronze went to Dayne
Wilson (4:06.92) and Erwee (4:09.50).
Marne Frylinck was first in the 400m individual medley 'B' Final in
5:06.85, Hanim Abrahams took the silver in 5:07.03 and Robyn Kinghorn
the bronze in 5:11.36.
The Day 2 finals will begin at 18:30.
The staging of this event has been made possible through the support
provided by Swimming SA partners, Sport and Recreation South Africa,
Sascoc, Arena, Rand Water and the National Lotteries Commission.
Olympic Qualifying times following Day 1:
• Sebastien Rousseau – 400m individual medley – 4:14.75
• Michael Meyer – 400m individual medley – 4:15.71
• Myles Brown – 400m freestyle – 3:48.86
• Cameron van der Burgh – 100m breaststroke (SF) – 59.69
Paralympic Qualifying times following Day 1:
• Kevin Paul (SM10) – 200m individual medley – 2:15.78
• Alani Ferreira (SM13) – 200m individual medley – 2:50.43