South African Commonwealth Roster Grows On Day 2 Of C’ships


  • December 16th-22nd, 2017
  • Durban, South Africa
  • LCM (50m)
  • 2018 Commonwealth Games Trials
  • Commonwealth Games Standards
  • Live Results: Meet Mobile, search “KZNA Premier Champs & Commonwealth Trials”

Day 2 Qualifiers:

  • Cameron Van der Burgh, 100 breaststroke, 59.89
  • Michael Houlie, 100 breaststroke, 1:01.98
  • Chad Le Clos, 200 freestyle, 1:48.28
  • Jarryd Baxter, 200 freestyle, 1:50.79
  • Erin Gallagher, 50 freestyle, 25.35
  • Emma Chelius, 50 freestyle, 25.66
  • Olivia Nel, 50 freestyle 26.06
  • Dune Coetzee, 200 freestyle, 2:02.68
  • Ayrton Sweeney, 400 IM, 4:16.53
  • Luan Grobbelaar, 400 IM 4:22.58

Four swimmers already met or exceeded the Commonwealth Games qualification times on day 1 of the South African trials and the squad grew even more on day 2. Along with mainstays Chad Le Clos and Cameron Van der Burgh, several young teens broke through to claim a QT and most likely earn a spot on the South African roster in the Gold Coast next year.

One of those teens was Mariella Venter, the 17-year-old who clocked a winning 100m backstroke time of 1:02.55. Although that’s well off her own personal best of 1:01.16, her outing in Durban yesterday was enough to surpass the QT of 1:02.73 to be eligible for selection.

Even younger than Venter was 15-year-old Dune Coetzee, the South African 200m freestyle champion. Firing off a career-fastest effort of 2:04.33 in prelims, she ultimately notched a first place result of 2:02.68 to lay waste to her previous personal best of 2:06.06. Her 2:02:68 time was comfortably above the 2:02.83 needed for Australia.

18-year-old Erin Gallagher led the charge of a trio of women 50m freestylers making the grade in that furious event. Gallagher of the Seagulls, Chad Le Clos’ former team, clocked 25.35 for the win, followed by Emma Chelius in 25.66 and Olivia Nel in 26.06. All 3 women dipped under the 26.06 quailfying mark to be up for a spot representing South African at next year’s Commonwealth Games.

Van der Burgh expectedly won the men’s 100m breaststroke in 59.89, more than 2 seconds ahead of runner-up Michael Houlie, whose mark of 1:01.98 also qualifies.

Le Clos got his job done in the 200m freestyle and the 50m butterfly, collecting gold medal-garnering times of 1:48.28 and 24.06, respectively. In the former, Le Clos represented the only swimmer to delve into sub-1:50 territory, but 18-year-old Jarryd Baxter‘s time of 1:50.79 for silver was quick enough to get under the 1:51.50 QT. Bronze medalist Calvyn Justus earned a mark of 1:51.55, just over the 1:51.50 QT, although he already qualified for the 100 backstroke on day 1.

Finally, veteran racer Ayrton Sweeney was successful in the grueling 400m IM, taking 1st in 4:16.23, well ahead of the 4:26.93 standard. 15-year-old Luan Grobbelaar was another swimmer able to beat the QT, earning silver in 4:22.58.

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About Retta Race

Retta Race

After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

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