Youth Olympics and Commonwealth Games swim star, Chad le Clos clocked an A qualifying time for the FINA World Championships in Shanghai when he produced a sparkling performance on the opening night of the Telkom SA National Swimming Championships in Port Elizabeth on Monday.
Le Clos, who turns 19 on Tuesday, produced his customary strong finish to come from behind and take the 200 metre butterfly title in 1min 57.20sec. The 18-year-old KwaZulu-Natal athlete was trailing US based Sebastien Rousseau but overtook him in the final sprint and Rousseau ended with the silver in 1:57.95, and Dylan Bosch grabbing bronze in 1:59.21.
Having swam an A qualification time in the 200m individual medley heat session (2:15.13), Kathryn Meaklim narrowly missed the qualification time when she finished in a time of 2:15.37 in the final, just a tenth of a second off the criteria time of 2:15.27. As the only athlete in the event to achieve an A qualifying time, Meaklim will be considered for selection to the FINA World Championships.
In the 50m butterfly semi-finals, it was 16-year-old Vanessa Mohr who clocked the exact time needed for the FINA World Championships qualification of 26.68. Mohr will need to swim a qualification standard in the finals on Tuesday evening to confirm a berth for Shanghai.
Comeback girl, Suzaan van Biljon finished first in the 50m breaststroke semi-finals in 32.40 which will make for an interesting final on Tuesday as she strives to set the 31.52 qualification time set by Swimming SA in accordance with FINA rules.
Earlier on in the evening, Karin Prinsloo claimed the gold in the 200m freestyle in a time of 2:00.89, followed by Leone Vorster in 2:01.66 and Natalie Elphick in 2:03.65. Heerden Herman’s time of 3:51.08 secured him gold in the 400m freestyle, with Riaan Schoeman in second (3:52.26) and Myles Brown finishing with the bronze in 3:53.11.
The fast times will continue on Tuesday at the Newton Park Swimming Pool as the second day of the Telkom SA National Swimming Championships gets underway from 9am and the finals beginning at 6pm. Stars in action will include Cameron van der Burgh and Roland Schoeman.