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Moore flies freestyle flag

Graeme Moore and Lyndon Ferns showed that men’s freestyle swimming is still in good health when reaching the final of the men’s 100m at the 2010 Pan Pacific Championships in Irvine, California.

Moore and Ferns (48.99sec and 49.09 respectively) qualified for the final as the sixth and seventh fastest from the morning heats and in the evening’s finals Moore pulled a 48.76 performance out of the bag to finish fifth behind the American Adrian Nathan, who had a personal best of 48.15. Canada’s Brent Hayden (48.19) was second, with Ferns eighth in 49.46.

Afterwards Ferns expressed his satisfaction with his day’s work. ÔÇ£It was my first major meeting in nine months and I’m chuffed to have reached the final.ÔÇØ

Both he and Moore have every reason to be confident heading into October’s Commonwealth Games in India, where the strong USA team won’t be competing.

Gideon Louw, who missed out on the ‘A’ final of the men’s 100m freestyle, nevertheless finished on the podium after the ‘B’ final (consolation) where he clocked 49.13, which gave him third place behind American Gary Weber-Gale.

Earlier, Roland Schoeman, who collected South Africa’s only medal of the Pan Pacs so far with bronze in the 50m butterfly, was a shadow of his best when he struggled to 50th with a slow 51.07, a result that left him shattered.

Schoeman, a three-time Olympian who has his sights set on the Commonwealth Games, will have to put the performance into a file marked ÔÇ£rotten day at the officeÔÇØ and move forward.

The Pan Pacs is a championship widely considered to be the third toughest behind the Olympics and the World Championships, mainly as it involves the two traditional strongest nations in the pool, the United States and Australia.

In the men’s 400m Individual Medley preliminaries, Sebastien Rousseau clocked 4min 29.07, which left him 14th fastest in qualifying and had booked him a place in the ‘B’ final.

The South African had been in good company. Olympic legend Michael Phelps was also unable to make the ‘A’ final, his 4:15.38 only good enough for ninth in qualifying. However, Rousseau and Phelps both scratched from the evening race.

Neil Versfeld was deemed a non-starter in the men’s 100m breaststroke heats.

South Africa’s breaststroke world champion, Cameron van der Burgh, meanwhile is struggling to overcome a bout of flu and has been on antibiotics at home this past week.