SOUTH AFRICAN NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS (SA OLYMPIC TRIALS)
- King Aquatic Park, Durban, South Africa
- Sunday, April 10th – Saturday, April 16th
- Prelims- 10:00 am local (4 am ET, 1 am PT), Finals- 6:30 pm local (12:30 pm ET, 9:30 am PT)
- Meet Announcement and Olympic Qualifying Times
- Live Results
Wayne Ridding contributed this report.
American-trained Christopher Reid (20) stepped up the level on the second day of the South African Olympic Trials with his first qualifying time. He set a new African and South African record at the same time at the Kings Park Pool in Durban this morning.
The University of Alabama-based Reid was all smiles after the men’s 100m backstroke heats as he raced out in 25,93 seconds and clocked up a finishing time of 53,12sec – beating the record mark held by Gerhard Zandberg of 53,75sec and well under the Olympic time of 54,36sec.
“The plan was to go for the time in the heats,” said Reid afterwards while South African coach Brian Elliott stood beside in amazement. Elliott made an important remark that he was also “just over a second outside the world record!” The world record belongs to Aaron Peirsol set in 2009 in 51,94sec.
Reid also felt “a sub 53sec was on the cards tonight as I was not happy with my finish.” His 53,12sec places him 7th in the world on the current rankings! “When I missed the 2012 London Olympics, I was not disappointed as I want to go to the Olympics with a medal in mind!”
Reid placed just 21st in the 100 short course yards backstroke at the NCAA Championships two weeks ago, but combined with this result, it appears as though he was holding his best for these Trials.
Former South African world record holder and coach at Alabama, Jonty Skinner, was certainly in awe of this young potential star that joined Alabama last year.
Reid’s outstanding result brought SA head coach Graham Hill to his feet as he realised what could be with a good backstroker available for the medley relay – with the likes of Olympic Gold Medallists Cameron van der Burgh and Chad le Clos in the mix and a host of freestylers including veteran Olympian Roland Schoeman still performing.
It was Le Clos who took to the water for his first swim of the trials in the 200m freestyle this morning where he clocked up an easy looking 1:49,85 to set the fastest time ahead of Egyptian Marwan Elkamash with a 1:49,90. Olympic qualifier in the 400m IM, Sebastien Rousseau, looked strong at the finish with his 1:50,09, and he was followed by Calvyn Justus 1:50,19 and 400m freestyle qualifier Myles Brown in 1:50,66.
The women’s 100m backstroke got the morning off to a nervous start as only Marielle Venter (16) showed any possibility of getting close to the 1:00,25 Olympic time with a 1:01,81 swim. The rest need to lift considerably with Nathania van Niekerk (17) on 1:03,89 and Jessica Ashley-Cooper (23) on 1:03,93 the likely challengers for the semi-finals.
The depth in the women’s 100m breaststroke was evident when SMU based Tara Nicholas set the tone with a 1:08,48 before Texas A&M student Franko Joncker took it out a fraction slower and brought it home the fastest in 1:08,30 – but the danger lady looks set to be Tatjana Schoenmaker who was content to finish strongly to clock 1:09,13. Taryn MacKenzie also came through with a solid swim in 1:10,39 that will set up two fast semi-finals tonight.
The women’s 400m freestyle was way off the Olympic mark of 4:09,08 as Caitlin Kat (23) goes into the final first with a 4:22,93 followed by Kristin Bellingan (18) on 4:24,83 and 13-year-old Rebecca Meder on 4:25,18.
The Paralympic times were also tumbling as Alani Ferreira clocked up two more in the SB13 category, clocking 1:29,50 in the 100m breaststroke and 5:21,00 in the 400m freestyle. Emily Gray clocked a 5:05,36 for the S9 category as well as Kevin Paul who is well under the SB9 100m breaststroke in 1:06,91 as well as Johann van Heerden in 1:13,67.