Van Der Burgh Clocks 59.7 100 Breast, Brown & Le Clos Showdown Looming


Night 2 of the South African National Aquatic Championships brought more World Championships-worthy times as the competition serves as the country’s qualification meet for Budapest. The selection criteria is rather succinct, with the first and second place finishers in Olympic events at these Championships being considered for selection, as long as they achieve a FINA ‘A’ cut in the event. You can read more details in the day 1 recap.

The race of the night belonged to Olympic silver medalist Cameron van der Burgh, as the seasoned competitor clinched another FINA A cut in the men’s 100m breaststroke. He had already dipped beneath the qualifying mark with last night’s semi-final outing of 1:00.07, but the 28-year-old sealed the deal tonight with a monster 59.73 to take gold in Durban. The South African breaststroking legend has now qualified for his 6th World Championships.

The new Cape Town native’s outing tonight moves him into the 2nd spot in the world rankings this season, but also points to the fact that van der Burgh’s new training environment is rendering the results for which he was hoping.  ‘VDB’ was 59.66 at this same meet last year in the lead-up to the 2016 Olympic Games, so the fact that the Rio silver medalist in the event is already within range amid his recent life changes is encouraging for the battle that lies ahead in Budapest.

2016-2017 LCM MEN 100 BREAST

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Multiple Olympic medalist Chad Le Clos was back in the water today after an electrifying 48.64 100m freestyle lead-off on an ultimately disqualified Western Cape Aquatics’ 4 x 100m free relay last night. The 24-year-old Energy Standard swimmer was slightly more subdued today, with just the prelims and semi-finals of the 200m freestyle event on his plate, setting up a potentially monster swim tomorrow. While Le Clos stayed in the background today with a morning swim of 1:53.45 followed by a 1:49.47 evening semi clocking, his Olympic teammate Myles Brown made things happen in his own lane of the same event tonight.

After scoring a solid opening 200m freestyle prelim of 1:51.34, Brown turned things up a few notches to most likely secure his spot on the South African World Championships roster with a semi-final mark of 1:47.51. That slides under the FINA A qualifying time of 1:47.73 and already lays waste to the 1:48.29 Brown earned at this same meet last year, although Brown took the title in 2015 in a swift 1:47.44. Look for him and the ultimate racer, Le Clos, to battle for the 200m freestyle event title tomorrow night.

The other swimmer on the move tonight was 19-year-old Tatjana Schoenmaker who is on the brink of being the first South African woman to make an elite international meet roster in the past 3 years. As no South African woman qualified for the 2015 World Championships nor the 2016 Olympic Games, the pressure is on Schoenmaker, who is now within a second of the 100m breaststroke qualifying time, to help reinvigorate the female South African swimming component,

Schoenmaker first scored a morning swim of 1:08.98 before dropping down into 1:07-territory with an evening semi swim of 1:07.99. With the FINA A cut resting at 1:07.58, the Northern Tigers Swimming athlete is under half a second away from notching a place on the roster for Budapest. We’ll see what tomorrow night’s final holds.

Additional Winners on Night 2:

  • Felicity Passon, just 17 years of age, notched a 100m butterfly winning time of 1:00.88.
  • Jacques Van Wyk was the only sub-57-second swimmer in the men’s 100m backstroke semi-final, clocking a time of 56.29 to take the top seed.
  • The men’s 50m butterfly belonged to Douglas Erasmus and his winning time of 23.91.
  • Erin Gallagher of KwaZulu Natal notched the victory in the women’s 50m freestyle, earning the top time of 26.00.
  • Mariella Venter set herself up as the top seed in the women’s 100m backstroke, touching in 1:01.73. She’ll need to drop over a second in tomorrow’s final to come within range of the 1:00.71 FINA A cut.
  • The women’s 200m IM saw Rebecca Meder take the gold in a time of 2:16.24.

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About Retta Race

Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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