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Swimmers revel in Rome

Graeme Moore showed nerves of steel and confidence supreme as he swam his heart out in the butterfly and relay event as our swimmers had much to cheer about, in the first session of swimming at the 13th FINA World Championships in Rome on Sunday. 

While Roland Schoeman and Spanish 50m butterfly world record-holder Rafael Munoz both posted 22.90 secs (a new championship record) in the 50m butterfly heats, California-based second year pre-med student Moore who gave the SA swim team much to cheer over as he qualified for the evening’s 50m butterfly semi-finals with the 16th fastest time of the day in 23.48.┬á

Moore, 20, who hails originally from Johannesburg, then played a key role in closing out the SA team’s 4 x 100m freestyle onslaught. His effort of 47.58 allowing the SA line up of Moore, Lyndon Ferns, Darian Townsend and Schoeman to clock 3 min 12.08 sec – the sixth fastest of the competition and safely through to the final.┬á

On the breaststroke front, Cameron van der Burgh posted the ninth fastest time of the session in the 100 metres breaststroke with 59.54 to advance to the semi-finals. So tough is the competition in front of a large crowd who braved the scorching conditions, that Thabang Moeketsane’s effort of 1:01.40 put him as the 40th fastest during the heats.┬á

Jean Basson finished 13th fastest in the 400 metres freestyle in 3:46.84 putting him outside of the swimmers who progressed to the final. 

In the women’s 200 metres individual medley heats, Kathryn Meaklim (26th in 2:14.53) and Jessica Pengelly (31st in 2:15.66) failed to advance to the semi-finals, while Wendy Trott – whom much is expected of in the longer freestyle events – finished outside of the qualifying group – 15th in the 400 metres freestyle in 4:11.5.┬á

“It’s as good a start to the swim competition as we could have hoped for and making the relay final is a major confidence booster to the team,” said national coach Dean Price.┬á

“The spirit in the camp is great and I am sure we are in for a week of super swimming.”┬á

On the water polo scene, great goalkeeping by Dwayne Flatscher kept SA in the game as the South Africans came close to recording their first win at the world championships. But in the end, luck went against them with two deflected shots and a late goal by the opposition allowing Brazil to record an 8-7 win.


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