MYLES Brown held on for dear life to claim the 200m freestyle title from Olympic star Chad Le Clos at the SA championships in Durban on Wednesday night.
Le Clos failed to win either of his two races‚ including his favourite 200m butterfly‚ on a night he described as one of his worst.
Brown had the lead coming out of the final turn and he powered home to touch first in 1:47.44; Le Clos‚ unable to produce his trademark strong finish‚ clocked 1:47.89.
Both times beat the qualifying mark for the world championships in Kazan‚ Russia‚ in August.
“It was a nice race to win‚ especially racing against Chad in the 200m free‚” said Brown‚ who has also qualified in the 400m freestyle.
“All I was doing in that last lap was to hold on for dear life. I managed to hold on and hold him off. I was‚ of course‚ expecting more from him in that last 50m.”
Brown laughed off a suggestion that he had out-psyched Le Clos. “It’s very hard to get into Chad’s head‚ so I had to be alert at all times‚ especially when making that final turn.”
Brown was not entirely pleased with his time‚ which was outside the top 10 in the world rankings.
Le Clos agreed: “I was disappointed because of the time. If it was a 1:46 then it would be different. I think we (including Brown) were both slow.
“In a final there was pressure on both of us. I think we were focused on beating each other – which is something [coach] Graham Hill warned. I should have been more confident.”
Le Clos was not immediately deflated by the loss‚ pointing out he could emulate his performance from last year where he went on to win every race after coming second behind Brown in the 200m freestyle at the short-course (25m pool) national championships.
“Last year he beat me in the short-course and I went on to win every one of the 45 races after that‚” he said.
The only problem is that Le Clos then played second fiddle to Sebastien Rousseau in the semifinals of the 200m butterfly‚ his favourite event – after which he described the night as “the worst for me at the SA champs”.
“I am a little worried. This was one of the worst nights for me. But I’m really happy that Sebastien qualified. He made it look so easy. Hopefully on Thursday things will be better [in the final] and I will be faster.”
Ricky Ellis‚ 27‚ claimed the first senior SA title of his lengthy career when he lifted the 100m backstroke crown.
Ellis‚ who has recently completed his BComm honours‚ touched in 55.61‚ ahead of Neil de Villiers (55.70) and then a trio of past Olympians – Gerhard Zandberg (55.77)‚ Darren Murray (56.03) and Charl Crous (56.11).
The backstroke spot in the SA 4x100m medley relay team is wide open‚ and Ellis said he’s eager to take that.
“I’m looking at making the Olympic team next year. I believe a 53-high is definitely in my capability. Backstroke in this country is strong – you had to swim a 56.8 to make the final.
“We just need to get a bit faster at the front end.”
50m Breaststroke semifinal: 1. Cameron van der Burgh (Northern Tigers) 27.21; 2. Giulio Zorzi (Northern Tigers) 29.29; 3. Marko Visser (Northern Tigers) 28.33 100m Backstroke final: 1. Ricky Ellis (Central Gauteng) 55.61; 2. Neil de Villiers (Northern Tigers) 55.70; 3. Gerhard Zandberg (Northern Tigers) 55.77 200m Freestyle final: 1. Myles Brown (KZN) 1:47.44; 2. Chad Le Clos (KZN) 1:47.89; 3. Joshua Steyn (Northern Tigers) 1:50.19
50m Breaststroke semifinal: 1. Tara Nicholas (KZN) 32.01; 2. Tatjana Schoenmaker (Northern Tigers) 32.43; 3. Franko Jonker (Northern Tigers) 32.58 100m Backstroke final: 1. Mariella Venter (Central Gauteng) 1:02.03; 2. Nathania van Niekerk (Central Gauteng) 1:02.72; 3. Jessica Ashley-Cooper (WP) 1:03.09 100m Breaststroke final: 1. Tatjana Schoenmaker (Northern Tigers) 1:08.85; 2. Tara Nicholas (KZN) 1:09.04; 3. Franko Jonker (Northern Tigers) 1:09.98 200m Freestyle semifinal: 1. Karin Prinsloo (Northern Tigers) 1:59.32; 2. Marlies Ross (Northern Tigers) 2:03.38; 3. Kirsty McLauchlan (Central Gauteng) 2:04.10 1500m freestyle final: 1. Michelle Weber (KZN) 16:54.90; 2. Tracy-Lea Meyer (KZN) 16:56.81; 3. Carmen Le Roux (KZN) 17:11.13 – The Times
-RDM News Wire