Roland Schoeman and Chad le Clos put up times that rank amongst the world’s best this year, easily meeting the ‘A’ standard in their respective events on the final day of what has been a turbulent 2013 South African National Championships. The Tuesday and Wednesday events were delayed due to a pair of pipes bursting, forcing an on-the-fly shift in meet layout to timed finals sessions in both the morning and evening.
Schoeman led the morning session off with a lightning-quick 21.88 in the 50 freestyle, well under the ‘A’ standard of 22.33. The veteran Phoenix-based sprinter bettered his 22.19 from the front half of his 100 freestyle earlier this week, removing any doubt over his status for the World Championships in Barcelona. He is one of five swimmers to crack 22 this year, and only Florent Manaudou, Nathan Adrian, and Fred Bousquet have been faster in 2013.
The rest of the morning session was relatively pedestrian, although there were some solid swims from a few younger swimmers on the scene. 16-year-old Michelle Weber won the women’s 1650 in 17:02.64, and 17-year-old Tara Nicholas was victorious in the women’s 200 breaststroke with a time of 2:32.90. The other winners were Vanessa Mohr (27.32 in the women’s 50 fly), Darren Murray (2:01.89 in the men’s 200 back), and Ayrton Sweeney (2:18.09 in the men’s 200 breast).
Le Clos put together the top swim of the night session, dominating the field in the 100 fly to qualify in his second individual event. He touched in 51.79, which is number one in the world this year, and the only person to break 52.
There were a few other notable swims in the evening, but none that sealed a spot on the Worlds squad for South Africa. Arizona freshman Michael Meyer just missed achieving a FINA ‘A’ standard time in the 400 IM. Meyer touched in 4:19.36 for the win, just shy of the 4:18.99 qualifying time. Myles Brown had a strong swim to win the men’s 1500 free in 15:28.20, but fell short of the FINA standard of 15:14.38. Brown was under the ‘A’ cut in the 800 free earlier this week, but South Africa has elected to only take swimmers who have achieved ‘A’ times in Olympic events, so Brown will be left home. The other event winners of the night were Karin Prinsloo (56.25 in the women’s 100 free and 2:13.37 in the 200 back) and Rene’ Warnes (4:51.01 in the 400 IM).