SOUTH African swim stars Chad le Clos, Riaan Schoeman, Heerden Herman and Kathryn Meaklim penciled their names on the Olympic team short list after producing sparkling performances on the opening night of the SA National Aquatics held at the Kings Park Aquatics Centre in Durbrian.
It was so tight between Le Clos and Schoeman in the 400m individual medley, with both swimmers dipping under the Olympic A qualifying time with 4:13.86 and 4:15.60 respectively. Michael Meyer ended with the bronze medal in 4:16.42, also under the Olympic A Qualifying standard.
In the 400m freestyle, Heerden Herman was next to clock an Olympic A Qualifying Time when he touched the wall in a time of 3:48.57 well ahead of Myles Brown in 3:51.70 and Mark Randall in 3:53.29.
Kathryn Meaklim raced to an amazing finish in the 400m individual medley with an Olympic A Qualifying Time of 4:37.70, far ahead of team-mate Jessica Pengelly in 4:46.47 and Wendy Trott in 4:47.11.
A strong Mzansi Paralympian contingent will be expected at the London Paralympic Games after an outstanding performance where seven A Qualifying times were clocked tonight.
In the 100m backstroke, Charl Bouwer’s (S13) time of 59.78 saw him shed over 8 seconds of the required 1:07.75, while Hendri Herbst (S11) was 4 seconds ahead of the 1:18.98 standard when he finished in 1:14.66. Bouwer also scooped his second A standard time in the 400m freestyle with a time of 4:13.93.
Shireen Sapiro (S10), Natalie du Toit (S9) and Emily Gray (S10) were quick in the 100m backstroke. The trio swam to Paralympic A Qualifying Times in 1:10.70, 1:14.78 and 1:16.88 respectively.
The highlight of this morning’s heats session was Hendri Herbst’s impressive 4:58.75 Paralympic A Qualifying Time, which ranks him number one in the world in the S11 category.
In the B Finals, Kurt Benjamin was first in the 400m individual medley in 4:40.41; Jan van der Merwe came in second with a time of 4:43.75 and Cameron Tatchell in third with 4:43.80. In the 400m freestyle, Pierre de Waal took the gold in 4:01.93 while the silver and bronze went to Danie Marais (4:03.80) and Byron Doyle (4:07.29).
Caitlin Kat was first in the 400m individual medley B Final in 5:06.60, Lisa Cowling took the silver in 5:08.25 and Jolandi Els the bronze in 5:09.23.
Day 02 heats will start at 09h30 while the finals will begin at 18h00 daily. Entrance is R15 per person.
The staging of the SA National Aquatic Championships is made possible through the financial support of Telkom and the KwaZulu Natal Department of Sport and Recreation as well as support provided by Swimming SA partners, Sport and Recreation South Africa, National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund, Arena and Tsogo Sun.
Olympic A Qualifying Times following Day 01:
· Chad le Clos – 400m individual medley – 4:13.86
· Riaan Schoeman – 400m individual medley – 4:15.60
· Heerden Herman – 400m freestyle – 3:48.57
· Kathryn Meaklim – 400m individual medley – 4:37.70
Paralympic A Qualifying Times following Day 01:
· Charl Bouwer’s (S13) – 100m backstroke – 59.78
· Hendri Herbst (S11) – 100m backstroke – 1:18.98
· Charl Bouwer’s (S13) – 400m freestyle – 4:13.93
· Shireen Sapiro (S10) – 100m backstroke – 1:10.70
· Natalie du Toit (S9) – 100m backstroke – 1:14.78
· Emily Gray (S10) – 100m backstroke – 1:16.88
· Hendri Herbst (S11) – 400m freestyle – 4:58.75