The second-to-last day of the 2012 South African Olympic Swimming Trials handed out some more potential Olympic “short-list” spots, but not before the sprinters got a crack at redemption.
Roland Schoeman really got on his pony in the men’s 50 free semi-final, swimming a 22.08 for his best time since 2010. Schoeman was publicly disappointed in his performance at this meet last year, which largely precipitated his return to the United States to train with the Phoenix Swim Club. He was very good in the 100 in 49.25 for the 2nd spot, and was spectacular in this race with a FINA Olympic Qualifying Time.
He was the only of the elite sprinters who was probably happy with his swim in the 100, and the same seems to be holding true thus far in the 50. Bradley Tandy took the 2nd seed in 22.51, which is a very good time for him but a surprise to most that he came in as the second-fastest swimmer. Gideon Louw was just behind in 22.59, and Graeme Moore was way back in a 23.0. It appears that whatever caused Moore to be so far off in the 100 free is still lingering in the air.
In finals on the day, Suzaan van Biljon had a 200 breaststroke that could only be described as “clutch”. After falling short of the Olympic Qualifying Time in the 100 earlier in the meet, her chances in the 200 didn’t look great. When she was younger, she was a fantastic 200 breaststroker as well, but since her comeback it’s been all about the 100. Apparently, it was just a matter of time before she shored up her conditioning. She swam a 2:26.74, which is inside the FINA Automatic Qualifying Time. Now she’ll have to play the waiting game to find out if she’s selected despite only hitting the mark in one meet (as compared to the two that Swimming South Africa say they want).
One of the most anticipated match ups in Durban this week was the Men’s 200 IM, and Darien Townsend and Chad Le Clos did not disappoint. Le Clos won his 3rd individual event and his winning time of 1:58.97 was his 4th FINA Olympic Qualifying Time. Townsend posted his first FINA Olympic Q-time, taking second in 1:59.34.