Three-time Olympian Darian Townsend and 2008 Olympian Neil Versfeld kept the South African flag flying high during the third Fina/Arena Swimming World Cup leg that took place in Stockholm, Sweden, over the weekend.
Townsend was in great form once again to achieve the double gold on the second day of the meet. He started his afternoon off with another well paced race in the men’s 200-metre freestyle where he once again kept at bay the Australian challenge from Robert Hurley and Tommaso D’Orsogna, and world record holder Paul Biedermann (Germany), reports Sapa.
The Pietermaritzburg Seals star clocked an encouraging 1min 43min 45sec to beat Hurley by 0,22sec while D’Orsogna and Biedermann finished a distance back in 1:44.89 and 1:45.70 respectively. Townsend still hangs onto his No1 ranking in the world in the 200m freestyle short course with his 1:42.71 win in the first leg in Dubai.
Townsend was back at it later in the 200m Individual Medley where he recorded his third victory in a row despite a titanic battle with Hungarian Laszlo Cseh. It came down to the final 50 metres where Townsend had to dig deep to catch Cseh on the final few metres to win by 0.02sec in 1:53.66 while Brazilian Henrique Rodrigues was well off the pace for third in 1:55,15.
“I am happy with my performances this afternoon,” said Townsend. “This is a tough circuit to be on and I am pleased with my consistency so far, but I have heard that Ryan Lochte will be in Moscow for the next leg, and that should add plenty of competition.”
Townsend set the world record of 1:51.55 in the 200m IM in 2009 and only Lochte has gone faster when he set a new record in December 2010 at the World Short Course Championships in Dubai with a 1:50,08.
On Saturday, although Versfeld improved on his 50m breaststroke time on the circuit with a 27.08sec, it still only left him in fifth spot. But he made up for it later with a third place in the 200m breaststroke in 2:07.63 behind Germany’s Marco Koch who won in 2:06,09 and Japan’s Daiya Seto who took the silver in 2:06.65.
The 100m breaststroke proved to be his best performance so far as he snatched a silver in a fast 58.51sec. New Zealand’s Glenn Snyders won in 57.87sec while Italian Fabio Scozzoli took the bronze in 58.55sec.