South African Olympic Trials Day One Video Highlights

Video courtesy SABC Digital News and recap courtesy Wayne Riddin.

Sebastien Rousseau and Michael Meyer set the tone on the first night of the South African National Championship finals with two Olympic qualifying times at the South African Swimming Championships at the Kings Park pool in Durban this evening.


Olympic Qualifying Time: 4:16.71

  1. Sebastien Rousseau: 4:14.75*
  2. Michael Meyer: 4:15.71*
  3. Ayrton Sweeney: 4:24.48

Sebastien Rousseau (25) lead the challenge out on the men’s 400 individual medley ahead of Michael Meyer (23) in 57.05, but the extra work in preparation from Meyer certainly paid off as he took the lead marginally from Rousseau after the backstroke and breaststroke legs.

Rousseau, a two-time Olympian, had to work hard to get ahead of the tenacious Meyer, and the extra competition was the best medicine as Rousseau raced to a 4:14.75 with Meyer touching in 4:15.71 – opening their championships with a relieving qualifying time each.

While Rousseau was “extremely happy to have got a qualifying time on day one”, it was an elated Meyer who was more than smiling, as in 2012 he hit the qualifying time, only to finish third and be left at home.

“I have not been faster than 2012, so I am very happy that it all came together this time.” he said. “I have worked hard on my backstroke and breaststroke, and when I was that close to Sebastien, I knew I had a good chance. I am so happy!”


Olympic Qualifying Time: 58.74

  1. Marne Erasmus: 1:00.16
  2. Vanessa Mohr: 1:00.71
  3. Jessica Ashley-Cooper: 1:01.11
  4. Rene’ Warnes: 1:01.67
  5. Felicity Passon: 1:01.74
  6. Tayla Lovemore: 1:01.84
  7. Hanna McLean-Leonard: 1:03.87
  8. Dune Coetzee: 1:03.94

In the women’s 100m butterfly, both heat winners went slower than their prelims swims, asVanessa Mohr (21) was 0.41 behind with a 1:00.71 and Marne Erasmus (20) just 0.20 slower in 1:00.16. They were the only swimmers under 1:01, but both swimmers will need to improve on their finish if they hope to beat the 58.74 mark.

Jessica Ashley-Cooper (1:01.11), Rene’ Warnes (1:01.67), Felicity Passon (1:01.74), and Tayla Lovemore (1:01.84) also came in under the 1:02 mark.

Hanna McLean-Leonard and Dune Coetzee also made the championship final in 1:03.87 and 1:03.94.


Olympic Qualifying Time: 3:50.40 

  1. Myles Brown: 3:48.86*
  2. Marwan Elkamash: 3:48:93
  3. Brent Szurdoki: 3:52.34

Myles Brown (23) and Marwan Elkamash (22) from Egypt had the closest of races in the men’s 400 freestyle to both drop below the 3:50.44 Olympic time. Elkamash was brave to lead out just on 1:52 at the halfway mark with Brown happy to follow closely until the final 50m where he then started his main challenge only to see them separated by just .07, Brown clocking 3:48.86 to become the fourth male to qualify on day one.

Both Jarryd Baxter and Matthew Meyer both finished in under 4:00, swimming 3:55.44 and 3:56.07, respectively.


Olympic Qualifying Time: 4:43.46

  1. Marlies Ross: 4:50.26
  2. Kirsty McLauchlan: 4:53.98
  3. Rebecca Meder: 4:57.06

Marlies Ross (18) found it tough going in the women’s 400m IM as she ended way off the4:43.46 mark. Ross only recently joined up with Bob Bowman in Arizona from January but ended on a 4:50.26 followed by Kirsty McLaughlan (22) in 4:53.98 and young 13-year-oldRebecca Meder next in 4:57.06.

Jessican Whelan and Samantha Randle came in under five minutes with 4:58.44 and 4:58.91.


  1. Cameron van der Burgh: 59.69*
  2. Jarred Crous: 1:00.88
  3. Craig Emslie: 1:02.30
  4. Giulio Zorzi: 1:02.54
  5. Alaric Basson: 1:03.05
  6. Ayrton Sweeney: 1:03.57
  7. Jared Pike: 1:03.61
  8. Duncan Rudolph: 1:04.01

It was left to Cameron van der Burgh (27) again in the second semifinal of the men’s 100m breaststroke to entertain the crowd with his second Olympic qualifying time on the opening day. After the morning heat he “was happy with breaking 60sec and was aiming at a lower 59 in the semi.”

This is exactly what the Olympic champion did – out fast in 27.92sec with 19 strokes and ending on a 59.69sec. However, in the morning he was out on 16 strokes in 28.53sec – and hopefully a lesson learned!

In the first semifinal, a determined Jarred Crous (19) perhaps also made the mistake of pushing out too hard in the first length in 28.21, returning just 0.31 outside the Olympic mark with a 1:00.88. Craig Emslie (20) took the third seed in 1:02.30.

The possibility of two men under 60 seconds in the final will certainly lift the crowd off their feet!


The Paralympic swimmers were also getting their qualifying times done with the exciting Kevin Paul racing to a 2:15.78 for the men’s 200m IM in the SM14 class, well under the2:17.02 mark. Alani Ferreira was also comfortably under the 2:52.27 time for her SM13 class with a 2:50.43 – also a new African record.

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About Hannah Hecht

Hannah Hecht

Hannah Hecht grew up in Kansas and spent most of her childhood trying to convince coaches to let her swim backstroke in freestyle sets. She took her passion to Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa and swam at NAIA Nationals all four years. After graduating in 2015, she moved to …

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