Cameron van der Burgh Qualifies At 1st Session Of South African Trials

South African National Championships (SA Olympic Trials)

Special thanks to Wayne Riddin for contributing to this report. 

The first day of the South African Olympic Trials got off to a slower start than expected, and it was Olympic gold medalist Cameron van der Burgh who rose to the occasion in the final heat of the morning with the only qualifying time at the Kings Park Complex in Durban.

Men’s 400 IM- Prelims

Olympic Qualifying Time: 4:16.71

  1. Sebastien Rousseau: 4:20.30
  2. Eben Vorster: 4:26.68
  3. Michael Meyer: 4:26.81
  4. Neil Fair: 4:27.41
  5. Ayrton Sweeney: 4:27.66
  6. Rudolf Visser: 4:33.75
  7. Damian Mullen: 4:35.83
  8. Jordan Le Clos: 4:37.83

South African 400 IM national record holder and two-time Olympian Sebastien Rousseau made it look easy to clock the fastest time in 4:20.30. He will have ample opposition with Eben Vorster (4:26.68), Michael Meyer (4:26.81), Neil Fair (4:27.41) and Ayrton Sweeney (4:27.66) to pace off and challenge the 4:16,46 Olympic time.

Women’s 100 Fly- Prelims

Olympic Qualifying Time: 58.74

  1. Marne Erasmus: 59.96
  2. Vanessa Mohr: 1:00.30
  3. Felicity Passon: 1:01.74
  4. Tayla Lovemore: 1:02.41
  5. Jessica Ashley-Cooper: 1:02.58
  6. Rene’ Warnes, Dune Coetzee: 1:03.31
  7. Hanna McLean-Leonard: 1:04.42

2016 NCAA All-American Marne Erasmus, a junior at Southern Methodist University, was the only one under 60 seconds with a 59.96 swim, as the competitors chased a 58.74 qualifying time. Erasmus was the third-place finisher in this event at last year’s South African Nationals.

Vanessa Mohr was next in 1:00,3 with Felicity Passon of Seychelles on 1:01.74.

Men’s 400 Free- Prelims

Olympic Qualifying Time: 3:50.40

  1. Myles Brown: 3:51.09
  2. Marwan Elkamash: 3:53.98
  3. Matthew Meyer: 3:55.08
  4. Jarryd Baxter: 3:57.79
  5. Brent Szurdoki: 3:58.15
  6. Josh Dannhauser: 4:01.39
  7. Danie Marais: 4:01.85
  8. Roberto Gomes: 4:04.84

Myles Brown looked easy to head the race into the final with a 3:51.09, a fraction off the QT of 3:50.44. He should have an easy time making the mark tonight, as Brown is the South African record holder in this event with a 3:46.08 from Nationals last year.

It was good to see Egyptian Marwan Elkamash in 3:53.98, and this evening’s final is shaping up to be a great race. A host of swimmers will be challenging for the bronze medal with Matthew Meyer (3:55.08) looking the strongest while Jaryd Baxter (3:57.79) and Brent Szurdoki (3:58.15) were the only others under 4 minutes.

Women’s 400 IM- Prelims

Olympic Qualifying Time: 4:43.46

  1. Marlies Ross: 4:55.23
  2. Rebecca Meder: 4:58.76
  3. Jessica Whelan: 4:59.27
  4. Kirsty McLauchlan: 5:00.88
  5. Samantha Randle: 5:01.57
  6. Carmen Botha: 5:01.82
  7. Kate Beavon: 5:06.59
  8. Erin Anderson: 5:08.35

Arizona State commit Marlies Ross looked easy in the 400m IM to hopefully aim at the 4:43.46 Olympic QT, but she will need to go her own pace after clocking 4:55.23 to head the group. Ross racked up eight individual medals, including four golds, at South African Short Course Nationals last year.

Men’s 100 Breast- Prelims

Olympic Qualifying Time: 1:00.57

  1. Cameron van der Burgh: 59.98
  2. Jarred Crous: 1:01.09
  3. Giulio Zorzi: 1:03.01
  4. Alaric Basson: 1:03.08
  5. Jared Pike: 1:03.17
  6. Craig Emslie: 1:03.21
  7. Ayrton Sweeney: 1:03.85
  8. Duncan Rudolph: 1:04.02

Cameron van der Burgh was in a league of his own and showed signs of what could be after an encouraging 59.98 swim to clock up the only Olympic QT of the morning heats. Out in just 16 strokes in 28.53, Van der Burgh was smiling afterwards – “I was really happy with the swim and will aim at a low 59sec this evening and then a 58 tomorrow.”

Van der Burgh is currently the #1 swimmer in the world this season, after clocking 58.97 in at the Paris-Chartres FINA World Cup Meet.

Jarred Crous also looked strong and likely to challenge the QT of 1:00.57, after clocking 1:01.09.

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About Hannah Hecht

Hannah Hecht

Hannah Hecht grew up in Kansas and spent most of her childhood trying to convince coaches to let her swim backstroke in freestyle sets. She took her passion to Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa and swam at NAIA Nationals all four years. After graduating in 2015, she moved to …

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