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Cameron, Darian shine

Cameron van der Burgh and Darian Townsend kept the national flag flying high in the world of short course swimming, as they produced meeting record performances on the second and final evening of the FINA/Arena Swimming World Cup in Stockholm, Sweden on Wednesday.

World record-holder in the 50 and 100 metres breaststroke ÔÇô Van der Burgh bettered his meeting record of 56.36 seconds set at the FINA/Arena Swimming World Cup leg in Moscow, Russia over the weekend, to its new mark of 56.17. National team-mate Neil Versfeld, who set a meeting record in the 200m breaststroke the night before, finished second to Van der Burgh in 56.55.

KwaZulu Natal-based Townsend’s fine form on the short course circuit continued as he clocked a FINA/Arena Swimming World Cup best of 1:51.79 in the 200m individual medley ÔÇô dipping under the previous meet record time of Tunisian Oussama Mellouli (1:52.41) and merely 0.23sec shy of the world record held by Ryan Lochte from the USA.

Townsend’s time was inside his own African mark of 1:52.93. Another KZN based athlete, Chad le Clos placed sixth in 1:55.73.

Townsend’s time was good enough to force American Olympic sensation Michael Phelps to settle for the silver medal in 1:53.93.

This was Phelps’ second defeat in Stockholm by a South African after Gerhard Zandberg had beaten the American Olympic star in the 100m individual medley 24 hours earlier.

Townsend also rewrote the African record-books in the 200m freestyle with his silver medal-winning time of 1:41.99 being faster than his previous continental mark of 1:42.01.

Frenchman Frederick Bousquet took gold in the 50m freestyle in 20.64 ÔÇô to better Roland Schoeman’s meeting record of 20.88 set in the gala showpiece in Moscow, Russia on November 7. In Wednesday’s race, Schoeman finished second in 20.81.

George du Rand finished third in the 200m┬á backstroke in 1:48.95, while Durbanite Kathryn Meaklim ÔÇô who set an SA record in the 200m individual medley yesterday ÔÇô ended second in the 400m individual medley in 4:28.23.

Zandberg ended fifth in the 50m backstroke in 23.38, while Mandy Loots finished fifth in the 200m butterfly (2:07.75).