By Mark Etheridge
Kathryn Meaklim and Heerden Herman were both all smiles as they celebrated Olympic A standard qualifying times at the SA swimming championships in Durban on Monday evening.
Meaklim booked her place to the London Olympics courtesy of her win in the 400-metre Individual Medley while Herman swam a qualifying time in the 400m freestyle.
Durbanite Meaklim is secured her slot after already having swum an A-standard time at the British Gas nationals in London last month.
Herman, who hails from Stellenbosch, was expected to qualify in the 1500m event after having qualified at the international meeting in Durban earlier this year but the 400m was more of a surprise as he won in 3min 48.57sec, just 0.32 inside the qualifying mark.
“I’m very happy about the 400 last night,” he told Road to London 2012 on Tuesday. “I knew I had a chance to make it, but I also knew it would be very close.
“My strategy in the race played out perfectly and I managed to pull off the time. Obviously that gives me a lot of confidence for the week ahead, knowing that I am in good shape.” The final of the 1500m will be on Sunday evening.
As for Meaklim, she was as excited as a shark at feeding time. “I am just so stoked, wow!”
“The race went really well ÔÇô in the morning I wasn’t feeling really good in the water, so just wanted to go out really strong and go for it in the evening.
“This didn’t work out too well though as I didn’t have such a good first 200, but by the team the breaststroke leg was there, I was starting to feel really great and strong and powerful, like all the years of hard training had started to kick in”
“When I touched the wall, I was so so happy ÔÇô there’s always that doubt at the back of your mind, the worrying, and to have done it has taken a lot of pressure off!. Also, watching Chad le Clos, my team-mate do it earlier in the evening, was such a huge inspiration and made me really excited!”