/ 20 August 2006

SA swimmers in fine form in Canada

South Africa’s Lyndon Ferns cruised through the heats of the 100m butterfly at the Pan Pacific Championships in Victoria, Canada, on Saturday morning.

He swam 52,96 seconds in a race where he was clearly holding something back for Saturday night’s final, where he will come up against world-record holder Ian Crocker of the United States.

Ferns’s time saw him qualifying as the joint second fastest, with Japan’s Ryo Takayasu recording the same time in the heats. Crocker was the quickest, swimming a championship record time of 51,78 seconds on Saturday morning.

”Lyndon wasn’t that fast in the first 50m, but he swam a very composed race,” said South Africa’s head coach Dirk Lange. ”He had everything under control and he is looking good for the final.”

South Africa’s 800m silver medallist at these championships, Troyden Prinsloo, meanwhile, qualified for the 400m freestyle final after swimming 3:54,10 in the heats. But with his focus firmly on Sunday’s 1 500m freestyle, he was not planning to take any further part in the 400m event.

”I was 0,1 of a second off my best, so that was good, but this is not one of my goals, so I’ll be scratching from the final,” explained Prinsloo. ”This was more just a type of warm-up for the 1 500m where I’m hoping to swim a 15:05, but we’ll see how it goes. I’m very keen.”

George du Rand and Melissa Corfe will swim in the B finals of the 200m backstroke on Saturday night. Du Rand was rather disappointed with his swim of 2:01,24, which was a second off his best time.

”I’m not too pleased with that,” he said after his heat, which was won by US world-record holder Aaron Piersol in 1:56,81. ”The last 50m was a bit bad and my pacing wasn’t great but hopefully I can sort that out in the final and swim under two minutes.”

Corfe was satisfied with her performance. The KwaZulu-Natal swimmer finished in 2:14,64 to book her place in the B final.

”It was one second off my best, but I haven’t tapered for this event and so I’m hurting quite a bit. My arms are sore,” she said afterwards. ”It was definitely better than the 100m backstroke, though. I went out a lot faster and considering we only arrived on Monday and didn’t have any time to get into the zone, I am happy.

”I will try to drop to 2:13 in the final. This time last year I was swimming 2:17s, so it’s going well. My main goal in to swim 2:12 by the World Championship trials in December and I think I’m on track for that.”

The other South African in action on Saturday morning was Cameron van den Burgh, who swam 55,46 seconds to finish second in his heat of the 100m butterfly but didn’t make it through to the finals. — Sapa