Du Toit full of confidence for final

Natalie du Toit went into last night's women's S9 100 metres freestyle final full of confidence after winning her heat yesterday morning at the IPC World Swimming Championships.

Natalie du Toit went into last night's women's S9 100 metres freestyle final full of confidence after winning her heat yesterday morning at the IPC World Swimming Championships.

Du Toit will look to claim her second medal of the championships, after winning gold in world record time on Saturday night in the 100 metres butterfly.

The 22-year-old was just 0.1 seconds off her 100 metres freestyle world record time on Monday morning, as she accounted for her friend and rival, Stephanie Dixon of Canada (1min 06 secs). Dixon's teammate Darda Geiger was third in a time of 1min 07 secs.

Handri de Beer and Charl Bouwer were the other South Africans to advance to yesterday's finals.

De Beer, who won an unexpected bronze medal on Sunday night, finished fourth in the women's S12 100 metres butterfly and her coach Theo Verster was excited about the 24-year-old's prospects of maybe pulling out another surprise.

"She really did a good swim this morning. She was totally relaxed, and if she drops a second we may be in for a surprise." Verster was equally confident about young 16-year-old Bouwer who won his men's S13 400 metres freestyle heat.

"Charl's up against very stiff competition from the Greeks, but he stamped his authority on the race this morning. He's one of our hopes for Beijing, so tonight's final will tell us a lot about where he stands."

Shareen Sapiro, Emile Gray and the South African relay team were also in action during yesterday's heats.

Sapiro finished 15th in the women's S10 100 metres freestyle, while Gray ended 19th in the women's S9 100 metres freestyle. The SA relay team of Tadgh Slattery, Tiaan du Plessis, Sibusiso Mogale and Hendrik van der Merwe finished ninth in the men's 400 metres medley relay.

Verster, who has been coaching the South African team in Durban, together with Liezel Theron, was overjoyed by the performances of his swimmers on Sunday. - Sapa

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