In two finals races, nobody hit a FINA Automatic Qualifying Time on day 1 of the 2013 South African National Championships and World Championship Trials, which means that nobody has officially booked a ticket to Barcelona yet.
South African is following FINA’s A-standards, and will send the top two in each Olympic event who are under that automatic qualifying mark in finals. If nobody, or only one swimmer, is under the mark in finals, then (and only then) they will consider an A-time from prelims or semi-finals.
Despite no qualifiers in the 400 free finals, the only of the meet’s first day, we’ll see a lot of opportunities to qualify on Tuesday.
The winner of the men’s 400 free was Myles Brown in 3:49.80 – about eight seconds better than anyone else. That missed the World Championship qualifying time by a quarter-of-a-second.
In the women’s race with no Wendy Trott enrolled, KwaZulu Natal Aquatics 17-year old Kyna Pereira won in 4:17.03, followed by Caitlin Kat in 4:17.39. Unlike the men’s race, the women were well off of the required qualifying mark. 16-year old Michelle Weber, who has been on the verge of distance greatness for about two years now despite her age, was just 4th in 4:20.30.
As for the semi-finals, where most of the action was, defending Olympic Champion and World Record holder Cameron van der Burgh took the top seed in 1:00.71. Nobody is even close to him, especially with Neil Versfeld apparently taking a pass on this meet (we’ve seen several South Africans do the same with concerns over the funding for travel to Worlds).
In the men’s 50 fly, albeit not a race that swimmers can use to qualify for Worlds, Roland Schoeman (23.23) and Chad le Clos (23.78) set up for a great finals battle. Those swims were both under the FINA Automatic Qualifying marks, so either would be eligible (from FINA’s perspective) to swim the race if they make the team otherwise.
In the women’s races, 18-year old Vanessa Mohr took the top seed in the 100 fly with a 1:00.75, followed by 17-year old Marne Erasmus in 1:01.22. In the 200 IM, 15-year old Marlies Ross was the fastest through semi-finals in 2:18.53.
This meet has almost become a junior championship of sorts, with over half of the finalists thus far being teenagers. It’s especially notable on the women’s side, where with the absence of names like Kathryn Meaklim and the current financial situation have led to the sport being dominated by very young swimmers.