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Schoeman's Dash A Pool Apart on 21.88

Apr 20, 2013  - Craig Lord

Roland Schoeman equalled the third best time of his career in textile suit when he clocked 21.88 for a wide margin of victory in the 50m freestyle at South African nationals this morning in Port Elizabeth. 

Two others got inside 23sec in the first timed finals of the day at a meet that had to be crunched into an all-timed finals schedule after a burst pipe led the pool water to turn green and cause two and a half days of cancellations.

Schoeman was a class apart, a man with a best textile time of 21.69 from his world-title blast at Montreal 2005 and still cracking 22sec eight years on, his time today matching his semis effort from London 2012. Reynar Wessels, 18, clocked 22.79 for silver in Port Elizabeth, bronze going to Leith Shankland in 22.90.

Schoeman was the only one in line for selection the South Africa's world championships squad this morning. The 200m backstroke world-titles cut of 1:58.48 is outside Darren Murray's best but today the 22-year-old took the crown in 2:01.89.

Aryton Sweeney, 19, took the 200m breaststroke in 2:18.09; Tara Nicholas the women's equivalent in 2:32.90; and Michelle Weber, 16, clocked 17:02.64 for the win over 1500m freestyle. All are racing in trying circumstances in Port Elizabeth.

The troubled meet ended this evening with a 51.79 (24.47) qualifier in the 100m butterfly for Chad Le Clos for a season world top 3 place.

No others hit the mark, though a 4:18.99 target in the 400IM was tested by 20-year-old Michael Meyer, on 4:19.36.  Myles Brown won the 1500m free in 15:28.20, Karin Prinsloo took the 100m free and 200m backstroke in 56.25 and 2:13.37 and Rene Warnes won the 400IM in 4:51.01.

The meet ended with just four certain qualifiers for the World Championships in Barcelona:

  • Cameron van der Burgh - 100m breaststroke (SF)
  • Chad le Clos - 100 and 200m butterfly
  • Myles Brown - 800m freestyle
  • Roland Schoeman - 50m freestyle