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African record for George

George du Rand is the latest SA swimming star to book a place in a final at the 13th FINA World Championships in Rome, following his brave semi-final showing in the 200 metres backstroke Thursday night.

With the SA swim team feeling the positive energy exerted by Cameron van der Burgh during his world record feat in the 50m breaststroke final the previous evening, Du Rand produced a superb swimming performance to clock the seventh fastest time in the 20m backstroke of 1min 55.75sec.

This ensured his place in the final and once again rewrote the African record-books, after he clocked a continental best of 1:56.06 in the heats earlier in the day.

With Brazilian Cesar Cielo setting a world record time of 46.91 to claim gold in the 100m freestyle final, SA’s Lyndon Ferns finished seventh in 47.94.

Neil Versfeld, who had earlier in the day set an African best of 2:09.86 in the 200m breaststroke heats, went faster in the semi-finals in 2:09.61, but the time placed him 13th overall and out of the reckoning for a place in the final.

Friday sees Darian Townsend and Lyndon Ferns in action in the 100 metres butterfly, while Wendy Trott (800m freestyle), Jessica Pengelly (200m backstroke) and the national men’s 4 x 200 metres freestyle relay team of Jean Basson, Sebastien Rousseau, Darian Townsend and Jasper Venter will be in the hunt for speedy performances.