Our Natalie du Toit finished 39th in the women’s 10-kilometre Open Water swim at the 14th Fina World Championships in Shanghai, China on Tuesday.
Paralympics hero Du Toit, 27, clocked 2hr 08min 27.1sec for the swim, 6:29 behind Britain’s Keri-Anne Payne who had led from start to finish, writes Mark Etheridge.
Twenty-three-year-old Payne, world champion in 2009 and the silver medallist at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, swam the four lapse off Jinshan City Beach in 2:01:58.1 to bat Italian Martina Grimaldi by 1.8sec. Grimaldi was the 2010 open water champion.
Marianna Lymperta of Greece was third in 2:02.01.8. The top 10 finishers of the event all earned spots at next year’s Olympic Games in London.
The first ever amputee to qualify for the Olympics, Du Toit placed 16th in the 10km open water swim at the Beijing Olympics. At last year’s FINA Open Water 10km Championships in Roberval, Canada, she ended 25th in 2:09. Also last year she was named Laureus World Sportsperson of the year with a Disability.
The second South African in the Tuesday’s Shanghai race, 18-year-old Jessica Roux ended 45th in a time of 2:16:34.5, 14:36.4 behind Payne.
A total of 56 swimmers started the race with 50 finishing, five dropping out and one, Eva Risztov of Hungary, disqualified.