SA Stars Shine In Durban

The Olympic and Paralympic Qualification times continued to tumble in, while Alani Ferreira broke another Africa Record on the second day of the SA National Aquatic Championships at the Kings Park Aquatics Centre in Durban.  Cameron Van Der Burgh brought the crowd to their feet when he confirmed his Olympic Qualification Time in the 100m breaststroke final, winning the race in a golden 59.66.  Jarred Crous claimed the silver in 1:01.10 and Craig Emslie the bronze in 1:02.33.

Chad Le Clos sprinted to a thrilling finish in the semi-finals of the 200m freestyle, clocking his first Olympic Qualifying Time of the Championships in 1:47.88, while Myles Brown and Egypt’s Marwan Elkamash were close behind in 1:48.05 and 1:48.66 respectively.  The final for race will be held tomorrow.  Christopher Reid took the 100m backstroke semi-finals by storm, racing ahead of the pack with an Olympic Qualification time of 53.23, over two seconds ahead of Jacques Van Wyk in 55.93 and Ricky Ellis in 55.97.  The final of the event will be held on Tuesday.

Mariella Venter, Jessica Ashley-Cooper and Nathania Van Niekerk topped the 100m backstroke semi-finals in 1:00.97, 1:02.36 and 1:02.69 respectively, closing in on the Olympic requirement of 1:00.25, while in the 100m breaststroke semi-finals Tara Nicholas was fastest in 1:08.68 ahead of Tatjana Schoenmaker in 1:08.72 and Franco Jonker in 1:08.79.  Both race finals will take place on Tuesday.  The gold in the 100m butterfly went to Marne Erasmus in 59.92, while Vanessa Mohr grabbed the silver in 1:00.34 and Rene Warnes the bronze in 1:01.48, as Caitlin Kat was victorious in the 400m freestyle in 4:20.19 ahead of Kristin Bellingan in 4:20.38 and Kate Beavon in 4:23.26.

Six Paralympic Qualifying times were added to the list when Craig Groenewald posted 1:12.33 in the SB14 100m breaststroke race, while Kevin Paul (SB9) and Johann Van Heerden (SB9) made the time in 1:05.10 and 1:12.64 respectively.  Alani Ferreira (SB13) bettered her heats time by over three seconds when she touched the wall with a Paralympic Qualification time of 1:26.90 in the 100m breaststroke and added the 400m freestyle to her list when she finished with a new African Record and Paralympic qualification time of 5:21.00 during the morning heats session.  The previous record was held by Marike Naude and stood at 5:21.81 from 2011.

Emily Gray (S9) also swam the 400m freestyle heats and raced to a Paralympic qualification time of 5:05.36.  In the S14 and S15 100m breaststroke multi-disability event, the gold medal was claimed by Maritza Snyder in 1:41.82 ahead of Michaela Kretzen in 1:48.97 and Cornelia Fowler in 1:50.74.  The day three heats will start at 10:00 while the finals will begin at 18:30 daily. 

Photo credit: WESSEL OOSTHUIZEN / SASPA