Schoeman slips into freestyle final

Roland Schoeman has the rules of the Pan Pacific Championships to thank for his place in Friday night’s final of the 100m freestyle.

The rules of the competition, currently taking place in Victoria, Canada, state that only two swimmers from each country can swim in a final.

Schoeman had what by his exceptionally high standards would be considered a disappointing morning swim, reaching the wall in 49,78 seconds to finish 10th-fastest overall. But the number of Americans ahead of him who were ruled out meant he was bumped up to the A final.

“Roland was not happy at all after his race,” said South African head coach Dirk Lange. “His plan was to go out fast, but he just didn’t find his rhythm.
He said the final tonight will be much better, though.”

Schoeman’s training partner in Arizona, Lyndon Ferns, had a better time of it. He swam 49,57 seconds to finish second in his heat behind American Jason Lezak and seventh overall.

“Lyndon was satisfied with that, but he can go faster in the first 50m. He is feeling really confident for the final where he can hopefully swim a 49,0,” said Lange.

Gerhard Zandberg, meanwhile, swam a personal best time of 50,17 seconds to finish 15th overall and will compete in the B final.

Other South Africans who will be in action in Friday night’s finals include Suzaan van Biljon, William Diering and Neil Versveld.

Van Biljon was another one disappointed with her morning swim, however. She finished the 100m breaststroke in 1:09,63. It may not have been close to her best, but it was still good enough to finish fifth overall and book her place in the A final.

“Suzaan is now recognised as one of the best breaststrokers in the world and these girls are here to beat her, so she has to get used to that and learn how to handle the new situation,” said Lange. “She just didn’t feel very comfortable this morning. She wasn’t feeling herself, but the 200m is more her event and that will be a completely different story.”

Diering, meanwhile, missed out on a spot in the men’s 100m breaststroke final by just one place after finishing his heat in 1:02,80. As a result, he will swim in the B final with Versveld, who finished his heat in 1:03,68.—Sapa

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