By Mark Etheridge
Troy Prinsloo looks to have booked his spot on Team South Africa for the Olympic Games in London later this year.
That after the South African powered to fifth spot at the weekend’s Olympic 10-kilometre open water qualification event in Setubal Bay in Portugal.
Prinsloo, 26, stayed with the leaders and hung in at the final sprint to end with a time of 1hr 45min 40.8sec, behind winner Oussama Mellouili of Tunisia who clocked 1:45:18.5. Runner-up was Canada’s Richard Weinberger (1:45.30.2) and Petar Stoychev of Bulgaria (1:45:34.1).
A 2006 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist in the 1500m, Prinsloo won three golds at the 2007 All Africa Games.
Our 2008 open water Olympian, Chad Ho, ended 12th on Sunday, with a time of 1:46.29.4 and failed to qualify for this year’s Games. A total of 54 swimmers completed the gruelling event.
In Saturday’s women’s swim, there was a battle royal between South Africans Natalie du Toit and Jessica Roux.
Roux just edged out Du Toit to provisionally seal a continental qualifying spot for the Games.
The KwaZulu-Natal teenager ended 31st in a time of 1:50:52, a mere 10th of a second ahead of Paralympic legend Du Toit who swam the open water competition at the 2009 Beijing Olympics.
The race was won by American Hayley Anderson in 1:44.30.6 with 40 athletes finishing the swim.