Van Zyl sticks up arm | SASCOC - SASCOC

Van Zyl sticks up arm

Darian Towsend gained his third World Championship qualifying time at the Telkom SA National Aquatics Championships at the Kings Park Aquatics Centre in Durban, but it was  Charl van Zyl who provided the surprise element in the race for SA places for Rome in July. 

Townsend, 24, who will be remembered for his role as part of SA’s triumphant 4x100m freestyle relay team at the Athens Olympics in 2004, clocked 52.14sec in the 100m butterfly (0,01 of a second faster than his semi-final time) and 1:58.33 in the 200m individual medley. He also produced a time of 48.79 in the 100m freestyle which is within the World Championships qualifying A standard.┬á

ÔÇ£I believe that I get more out of racing than I do out of training so I hope┬áthat the SA team will be able to compete in many galas in Europe in the┬ábuild up to the World Championships,ÔÇØ said Townsend.┬á

ÔÇ£We need to have a good international calibre preparation for Rome, and this will also give us the opportunity of building team spirit which is┬áabsolutely vital.ÔÇØ┬á

If Townsend was on song in the swimming pool, so too was Westville Boys High Grade 12  pupil Van Zyl who had the crowd cheering loudly as his 50m backstroke time of 25.71 saw him finish second to world champion Gerhard Zandberg (25.42). 

ÔÇ£I have been putting in quite a bit of long distance training and am part of a powerful training squad in Durban under the guidance of coach Graham Hill,ÔÇØ said 18-year-old Van Zyl.┬á

ÔÇ£The time is almost 0,5 secs faster than my personal best, so I am over the moon with the performance and having qualified for the World Championships.ÔÇØ┬á

The dash for gold in the 200m breaststroke final saw US-based Neil┬áVersfeld (2:10.13) beat Pretoria’s William Diering (2:11.50) with both┬áswimmers also joining the shortlist for Rome.┬á

Having already qualified for the World Championships in the 50m freestyle, Roland Schoeman increased his stakes by posting a qualifying performance for Rome, with 48.61 in the 100m freestyle semi-final, claiming first place. 

Lyndon Ferns finished second in the same race in 48.70 to add his name to the national selectors’ shortlist, having qualified in the 50m freestyle earlier in the championships.┬á

KwaZulu-Natal swimmers in Riaan Schoeman (1:59.24 in the 200 metres individual medley semi-final) and Kathryn Meaklim (an SA record time of 2:14.44 in the 200m individual medley) will also be practicing their 

Italian ahead of a potential trip to Rome, while Chanelle van Wyk (who posted an African record and World Championships qualifying time in the 50m backstroke semi-finals) won the final in 28.73. 

Somerset West-based Jessica Pengelly, who finished second to Meaklim in the 200m breaststroke final, posted a World Championship qualifier in the 200m individual medley in 2:15.71. Pengelly qualified for Rome in the 200m breaststroke semi-final 24 hours earlier. 

Troyden Prinsloo swam superbly in setting a SA record of 7:54.99 in the 800m freestyle, bettering his old national best of 7:56.82, but failed to  dip under the World Championship A standard qualifying mark of 7:52.92.

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