Loots leads way | SASCOC - SASCOC

Loots leads way

Veteran Mandy Loots led the way in the morning session on the opening day of the SA Swimming Championships and Olympic trials in Durban on Monday, breezing through her heat in the women’s 100 metres butterfly event.

Sapa reports that the 33-year-old, a three-time Olympian, has yet to secure an A-standard qualifying time for the London Games, and is one of several athletes on the fringes, though this week presents the final opportunity for all of them.

Loots clocked one minute 0.50 seconds (1:00.50) to book her place as the fastest qualifier, ahead of Marne Erasmus (1:01.32) and Vanessa Mohr (1:01.45).

Mohr is one of 12 swimmers at the meet who have already completed the first part of a stringent policy that requires them to record the A-standard time twice during a 10-month period, including once this week.

Among the others, Sebastien Rousseau, Chad le Clos and Riaan Schoeman all came through their heats in the 400m individual medley.

Rousseau, who has reached A-standard times in the 200m butterfly and 200m IM, was quickest overall, finishing his heat in 4:17.83 to book his place in the evening final.

Both Le Clos, one of the country’s fastest rising stars, and Schoeman had already met the qualifying standard for the event, and they finished second and fourth in times of 4:26.86 and 4:28.25 respectively.

Breaststroke specialist Cameron van der Burgh was the quickest qualifier in the 100m breaststroke, a race in which he has already met the standard, coming through in 1:01.20, while Mark Randall from Border was the fastest 400m freestyle qualifier in 3:54.79.

Kathryn Meaklim, who has an A-standard time to her name in the women’s 400m IM, easily qualified for the final in the same event in 4:43.60.

Wendy Trott, also with an A-time but in the 800m freestyle, will be in the same final after qualifying sixth quickest in 5:02.63.

In the Paralympic qualifying categories, South Africa’s most famous disabled swimmer, Natalie du Toit, was one of four athletes to record A-standard times.

There were three in one race, the women’s 100m backstroke, with Du Toit clocking 1:14.69 in the S9 class, Shireen Sapiro (S10) finishing in 1:11.30 and Emily Gray (S9) touching the wall in 1:17.27.

The fourth qualifying time came in the same event, but in the S13 class, with Charl Bouwer recording 1:06.99.

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