Connect with Us:  

South Africa Champs - Day 3

Sep 6, 1999  - Neville Smith

Johannesburg - Double Olympic champion Penny Heyns(Toti) raced to within 0.2 seconds of the world 100m breaststroke record at the "Telkom" SA Short-Course Championships in Johannesburg on Saturday, while Brendon Dedekind(Pietermaritzburg Seals) scorched his fifth Africa record in three days.

Heyns, the world's fastest swimmer in the 50m, 100m and 200m long-course breaststroke, might have gone faster had she not fluffed the first turn. She finished her semi-final in 1min 50.90 seconds - more than half-a-second better than her previous Africa mark of 1:06.47, but just short of Australian Samantha Riley's 1:05.90 record.

"I'm never going for records," the 24-year-old said. "I messed up on my first turn, but I'm happy it's my best short-course time."

But she repeated she was uncomfortable racing in 25m-length pools. "I really just can't say that I can judge short courses. The wall is slippery and each time there's a kind of anticipation," added Heyns, who took Friday off to rest.

"I think that helped a little bit, but to be honest, it seems like a very long season. I'm ready to take a break right now." Heyns, who has posted eight long-course world records in the past two months, will race in the final on Sunday evening.

Dedekind, who has twice set continental marks in the each of the 50m breaststroke and 50m freestyle events, torpedoed his own 100m freestyle Africa record in a time of 48.35 seconds.

"My first 50m felt really nice. I would have liked to have gone 47. But being too far ahead of the rest of the guys, I had really hard waves (coming off the wall)," said the 23-year-old electrical engineering student, who won the 50m freestyle gold at the Pan Pacifics in Sydney a week ago.

Michael Klim's Commonwealth record stands at 47.49 and Alexander Popov's world mark is 46,74, but Dedekind is not thinking of challenging either in Sunday's final.

"I'm contemplating scratching tomorrow. I might come in and do the 50m butterfly prelims. But I'm pretty tired after Pan Pacifics and it's the All Africa Games next week."

Charlene Wittstock(Seagulls), who also raced in Sydney last week, took three gold medals on Saturday to take her championship haul to five. She won the 100m individual medley in 1:05.15, the 50m backstroke in 29.68 and the 50m freestyle in 25.91.

"I feel a little tired, but I can't afford to be too tired, I've got to race again tomorrow," said Wittstock, who won the 100m freestyle and 100m backstroke on Friday night. "I've trained so hard, I expect to do all this racing."

Durbanite Terence Parkin(Seagulls), 200m breaststroke bronze medallist at Pan Pacifics, won the 100m breaststroke in 1:02.68, just in front of Herman Louw(Linrand),1:02.78.

But Louw reversed the order in the 100m individual medley, touching in 56,68 seconds, more than a second faster than Parkin. Both of Louw's efforts beat the qualifying standards for the World Short Course Championships in Athens in March.

George du Rand(Bloemfontien Seals) and Natalie du Toit(Vineyard), however, missed the times while racing to victory in the men's 200m butterfly and women's 400m freestyle.

Du Rand took advantage of favourite Theo Verster's(Kings Park) withdrawal to win in 2:04.38. The 15-year-old Du Toit finished in 4:23.00.