2017 SOUTH AFRICAN NATIONAL AQUATIC CHAMPIONSHIPS
- Monday, April 3rd – Saturday, April 8th
- Kings Park Pool, Durban, South Africa
- Event Schedule
- Live Results
The South African National Aquatic Championships kicked off in Durban today, where athletes will vie for their spots on the national roster for the 2017 World Championships in 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.
If one or both top two finishers do not achieve an ‘A’ qualifying time, athletes will the fastest ‘A’ times in either heat or semi-final will then be considered for selection provided he/she swims in the final of the event. Additionally, South Africa’s selection criteria states that if there are no “A” Qualifiers in an Olympic Event, the first swimmer achieving a “FINA B” Qualifying Time Standard, may be considered for selection, to satisfy transformation and gender objectives.
Day 1’s competition was rather quiet with multiple Olympic medalist Chad Le Clos on the sidelines individually. His event line-up kicks-off tomorrow with the 200m freestyle, while the 24-year-old Energy Standard swimmer will also be competing in the 100m/200m butterfly and 100m freestyle races.
But, the 24-year-old did make some noise on the relay front, leading his Western Cape Aquatics’ men’s 4x100m freestyle relay with a super swift 48.64. Although the relay would ultimately wind up getting DQ’d, Le Clos’ time falls well beneath the 48.93 qualifying mark for Budapest. Le Clos was 48.85 at the Stellenbosch Grand Prix in February, so tonight’s outing is a positive sign of where the stud is at right now. His 48.64 places him within the world’s top 5 in the event this season.
Olympic silver medalist Cameron Van der Burgh was in the starring role individually today, taking down the men’s heats and semi-finals of the 100m breaststroke. He first notched a modest 1:01.05 this morning, followed by a solid 1:00.07 in tonight’s semi-finals to set himself up as the rabbit to be chased come tomorrow’s finals. Per ‘VDB’s’ social media accounts, he was ‘too lazy to shave’, so the 28-year-old raced today in full beard. We’ll see if he musters up the energy to shave before tomorrow’s sprint and go under 1:00.
Young Zane Waddell, who represents the University of Alabama stateside, made his mark on the men’s 50m butterfly event, clocking swift times of 24.69 and 24.29 across the heats and semi-finals in the event. Doug Erasmus notched the speediest time of the day, however, coming with a 24.16 in tonight’s semi’s.
Another youngster, Felicity Passon, is climbing up the ranks in the women’s 100m butterfly, notching a pair of personal bests in the event today. She first nabbed a 1:00.88 in the morning and followed that up with a slightly faster 1:00.82 to dip beneath the 1:01 barrier for the first two times of her career. She still has quite a time drop to achieve to notch the FINA A qualifying time, but she is creeping up on the B standard and may hit it tomorrow.
The other eye-opening swim came from KwaZulu Natal athlete Matthew Meyer, who came painstakingly close to the A standard in the men’s 400m freestyle. After registering a 3:58.17 to take the top seed of the morning, Meyer hacked off over 8 seconds to blast a 3:49.55 in the final. That mark represented the only sub-3:50 outing of the field, but fell short of the 3:48.15 FINA A qualifying mark. Meyer now sits as the 13th fastest swimmer in the world in the event so far this season.