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Bronze for SA trio in Spain

Wendy Trott, Roland Schoeman and Chad Le Clos were all on the podium with bronze medals on the first day of the Mare Nostrum Series swimming competition in Barcelona, Spain on Wednesday night.

Trott set the scene in the first race of the evening, the 800-metre freestyle final. She was lying fifth after the first 100m which were covered in 1:02.06. Olympic champion, Rebecca Adlington, 2009 World and European Champion Lotte Friis, Blair Evans and Erika Vallaeicija Garcia were all ahead of the South African. But then the talented Trott started to find her rhythm and clawed her way back.

After 250m Trott had inched past Garcia and was a mere 0.008sec behind fourth placed Evans. At the half way point Trott was in control of the bronze position, whilst Friis and Adlington were having a furious battle for gold.

Once Trott had taken third place after halfway, she gradually moved away from Evans and Garcia and with 200m left her advantage was three seconds over Evans and four seconds over Garcia. By the time Trott had touched the wall in 8.29.97 she was just under five and seven seconds ahead of Evans and Garcia respectively. Adlington won gold with a new championship record time of 8.23.25 to Friis’ 8.23.97.

Schoeman was next in the pool for his favourite event, the 50m butterfly. Australia took the first two placings, Geoff Heugill touching first in 23.91sec with Andrew Lauterstein second in 24.08sec. The battle for bronze though could not be any tighter. Both Schoeman and Russia’s Nikolay Skvortsov were timed at 24.13 but Schoeman was given the nod over the Russian.

After making his mark in 2009 at the very same meeting in the 400m IM with a silver medal, Chad Le Clos just sems to have got better and better. Multiple medals at the Telkom SA Level 3 National Championships in March saw Le Clos book his spot for the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in Singapore.

Then in April he qualified for the Commonwealth Games in the 200m butterfly at the Telkom SA National Aquatic Championships.

At the age of 18 it is clear that Le Clos is very much a star for 2012 and beyond. On Wednesday night he thanked the selectors for their faith in him with a bronze medal in the 200m butterfly touching the wall in 1:59.80. Gold went to Poland’s Pawel Korzianowski (1:57.44) and silver to Russia’s Nikolay Skvortsov (1:58.61).

Thursday sees the final day of the Mare Nostrum Series in Barcelona before the team moves to Canet for the final leg on 12-13 June.