Le Clos Leads The Way

Chad Le Clos led the way as the Olympic and Paralympic Qualification short list continued to grow on the third night of swimming action at the SA National Aquatic Championships at the Kings Park Aquatics Centre in Durban.  It was a close finish between Chad Le Clos and Myles Brown in the final of the 200m freestyle.  Le Clos came out on top and confirmed his Olympic Qualification time with a golden 1:47.75, while the silver medal went to Brown in 1:48.29 and the bronze to Egypt’s Marwan Elkamash in 1:48.34.

Le Clos’s second Olympic Qualification time came in the 200m butterfly semi-finals, where he led the pack from start to finish and posted a fast 1:55.61, to the required 1:56.97, while Sebastien Rousseau was a close second in 1:57.60.  The final of the event will take place tomorrow.  The phenomenal performances continued with Christopher Reid, who raced to the gold and an Olympic qualification time of 54.02 in the 100m backstroke finals, followed by Zane Waddell in 56.09 and Jacques Van Wyk in 56.25.

The 200m individual medley semi-finals saw Marlies Ross, Kirsty McLauchlan and Gabi Grobler take the top three positions in 2:16.17, 2:19.29 and 2:21.61, respectively.  The final will be held on Wednesday.  Karin Prinsloo came one step closer to making the Olympic Qualifying Time of 1:58.96 in the 200m freestyle, when she won the semi-finals this evening in 2:00.96 ahead of Kristin Bellingan in 2:04.98 and Caitlin Kat in 2:05.59.  In the 100m backstroke final, Mariella Venter walked away with the title in 1:01.32, with Nathania Van Niekerk in second, clocking 1:02.41 and Jessica Ashley-Cooper third in 1:02.46, while the 100m breaststroke gold was claimed by Tatjana Schoenmaker in 1:09.17 ahead of Franko Jonker in 1:09.24 and Tara Nicholas in 1:09.30.

With five athletes having already swum eight Paralympic Qualifying Times to date, Shireen Sapiro (S10) and Emily Gray (S9) added their names on the short list to Rio by improving on their heat times to finish the 100m backstroke in 1:11.87 and 1:17.17, dipping under the set 1:13.40 and 1:17.70, respectively.  Hendri Herbst posted his first Paralympic Qualification time in the S11 100m backstroke, claiming the gold in 1:16.84, while Craig Groenewald won the S14 and S15 event in 1:09.50, with Aaron Putz coming in second in 1:11.39 and Challis Wright third in 1:11.66.  Christelle Kriel just missed out on the Paralympic Qualification time in the S14 and S15 100m backstroke, when she finished with a time of 1:16.40 to the required 1:16.23, while Michaela Kretzen took the silver in 1:26.18 and Maritza Snyders the bronze in 1:31.36.

The day four heats will start at 10:00 while the finals will begin at 18:30 daily.

Photo credit: WESSEL OOSTHUIZEN / SASPA