Le Clos flies ahead of field

STRONG SURGE: Chad le Clos in the 100m butterfly event during day four of the South African National Aquatic Championships and Commonwealth Trials at Kings Park Pool in Durban yesterday.
STRONG SURGE: Chad le Clos in the 100m butterfly event during day four of the South African National Aquatic Championships and Commonwealth Trials at Kings Park Pool in Durban yesterday.

SEBASTIEN Rousseau last night became the sixth SA swimmer to qualify for the Commonwealth Games at the national championships in Durban, but he still had to play second fiddle to Chad Le Clos.

Le Clos – after earlier winning the 100m freestyle crown – beat him in the 400m individual medley, but both their efforts were good enough to ensure passage to the Games.

Le Clos, who touched third at the end of the third breaststroke leg, surged to the front in the freestyle to clock 4 minutes, 14.81 seconds.

Rousseau, owner of the 4:11.11 national record, was second in 4:18.17, comfortably inside the 4:18.99 qualifying standard.

Meanwhile Le Clos was chuffed to have survived his toughest day of competition.

“I said from the start that this is the hardest day for me,” Le Clos, who between the two races also had to compete in the 100m fly semifinals, where he did enough to qualify for the final, said.

Marne Erasmus, a student at the Southern Methodist University in Dallas, clocked 59.43s to win the women’s 100m butterfly, but missed out on the qualifying mark.

As expected, Cameron van der Burgh was fastest in the semifinals of men’s 50m breaststroke, where he holds the 26.67s world record, touching in 27.05s.

Next best in 27.85s was Giulio Zorzi, who won the bronze medal behind Van der Burgh at the world championships in Barcelona last year.

Although this event will be raced at the Commonwealth Games, Swimming SA has ruled that swimmers cannot qualify in non-Olympic events, which includes the one-lap sprints for breaststroke, backstroke and butterfly.

That means that Zorzi cannot qualify.

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