Stars find stroke of class in the pool

Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

South African swim stars Ryk Neethling, Gerhard Zandberg and Shaun Harris booked their places in the last 16 of the 50m freestyle at the Telkom SA Short Course Championships held at the 25 metre GC Jollife swimming pool in Pietermaritzburg yesterday morning.

The championships started on Saturday and will end tomorrow. Neethling produced the fastest return of the heats, as he clocked 22, 21 seconds, with Harris second (22,49) and Zandberg, who is the world champion in the 50m backstroke in the long course (Olympic standard 50m swimming pool) event, third fastest in 22,56.

Swimming SA's head coach Dirk Lange said: "With the 50m freestyle to be decided on an elimination basis over five rounds, the swimmers will have to deliver a high level of consistency in the remaining four rounds in order to make it to the medal podium."

On the opening day of the national short course championships Lize-Mari Retief bettered the African record twice in the 50m butterfly, while Jessica Pengelly smashed the SA record in the 400 individual medley.

Swimming SA requires athletes to be in action at the Telkom SA Short Course Championships if they wish to be considered for entry to the lucrative Fina-Arena Swimming World Cup to be held at the King's Park Aquatics Centre in Durban from October 19-20.

Winners at the short course championships will gain automatic entry to the world cup and will be subsidised by the national federation. Senior national squad and junior elite squad members will have to participate in two individual finals at the championships to get through.