The battle for FINA World Championships spots has begun as South Africa’s youth and elite swimmers kicked off the 2017 SA National Aquatic Championships at the Kings Park Swimming Pool in Durban on Monday.
This year’s event doubles as the official 17th FINA World Championships and 6th FINA Junior World Championships Trials, which are due to take place in Hungary from 14-30 July and the USA from 23-28 August, respectively.
Olympian Cameron van der Burgh did not disappoint the Durban crowd as he swam to a FINA World Championship qualification time of 1min 00.07sec in the 100-metre breaststroke semi-finals to take the lead into Tuesday evening’s final.
Michael Houlie (16, pictured above), Daniel Swanepoel (18), who were both part of Team SA at the AUS Region 5 Games in Angola last year, Bryce Skea (17), Duncan Rudolph (17) and Bailey Musgrave (18) all dipped under the FINA Junior qualification time of 1:03.74.
The gold in the 400m freestyle went to Rio Olympian and Midmar Mile champion Matthew Meyer in 3:49.55 ahead of Brent Szurdoki in 3:51.21 but the real winner was 18-year-old Jarryd Baxter, who claimed the bronze in a FINA Junior World Championships qualification time of 3:51.85.
Rebecca Meder (14), Gabi Grobler (17) and Christina Mundell (15) penciled their names on the 6th FINA Junior World Swimming Championships qualification list as they finished the 200m individual medley semi-finals with the top three spots, clocking 2:17.80, 2:20.17 and 2:20.51, respectively.
The final of the event will take place on Tuesday.
In the 100m butterfly semi-final, 14-year-old Dune Coetzee finished in second place with a FINA Junior World Championships qualification time of 1:01.67 to the required 1:01.90, while Seychelles’ Felicity Passon was first in 1:00.82. The final of the event will be held on Tuesday.
The women continued to dominate the semi-finals as 2014 Commonwealth Games competitor Erin Gallagher (18) also raced to a FINA Junior World Championships qualification time of 26.14 in the 50m freestyle, to the required 26.47.
Rio Olympian Douglas Erasmus, who celebrated his 27th birthday on Tuesday, was quick off the block in the 50m butterfly semi-final, finishing first in 24.16, ahead of Reynard Wessels in 24.28 and US based Zane Waddell in 24.29.
In the multi-disability section, Aaron Putz won the gold in the 100m backstroke (S14-S15) in a time of 1:14.64, followed by Raymond de Freitas in 1:16.27 and Valentino Vergotine in 1:21.33, while Jean Pretorius brought home the gold in the S1-S13 category in 1:10.75 ahead of Franco Smit in 1:11.67 and Dave Williams in 1:27.45.
On the women’s side, the 100m backstroke (S14-S15) gold went to Christelle Kriel in 1:18.94, while Shannon Martins won the S1-S13 event in 1:31.24.
Pictures courtesy of Anesh Debiky
Qualifying Times following Day One
17th FINA World Championships:
Cameron van der Burgh – 100m breaststroke (SF) – 1:00.07
6th FINA Junior World Swimming Championships:
Dune Coetzee – 100m butterfly (SF) – 1:01.67
Jarryd Baxter – 400m freestyle – 3:51.85
Rebecca Meder – 200m individual medley (SF) – 2:17.80
Gabi Grobler – 200m individual medley (SF) – 2:20.17
Christina Mundell – 200m individual medley (SF) – 2:20.51
Michael Houlie – 100m breaststroke (SF) – 1:02.55
Daniel Swanepoel – 100m breaststroke (SF) -1:02.80
Bryce Skea– 100m breaststroke (SF) – 1:02.88
Duncan Rudolph– 100m breaststroke (SF) – 1:03.36
Bailey Musgrave– 100m breaststroke (SF) – 1:03.56
Erin Gallagher – 50m freestyle (SF) – 24.16