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Sub-Minute Ticket For Van Der Burgh

Apr 17, 2012  - Craig Lord

At the Kings Park Centre pool in Durban, world-championship bronze medallist Cameron Van Der Burgh (RSA) clocked 59.90, third best in the world so far this year, to claim the South African crown and book a ticket to London 2012 for the 100m breaststroke.

Van Der Burgh was all but matched at the turn by Neil Versfeld, 28.36 to 28.39, before racing ahead to gold 1.09sec ahead of his closest challenger. The champion is the fourth man this year to break the minute mark, the world rankings led by Olympic champion Kosuke Kitajima (JPN) on 58.90, second-best ever in textile and 0.7sec ahead of next best, teammate Ryo Tateishi, with Australian Chistian Sprenger on 59.91.

The second Olympic qualifier in finals was Charl Crous, 21, with a 54.19 victory in the 100m backstroke, 0.21sec inside the cut and just 0.45sec away from the 2008 national mark held by Gerhard Zandberg, absent from the race today, since 2008. The silver went to Darren Murray in 54.95, 0.55sec shy of target time for London 2012.

The race marked a big breakthrough for Crous, on a best of 54.82 in January this year after a 54.95 lifetime best last year. His 54.19 is a South African textile-suit record inside Zandberg's 2007 standard of 54.54.

World Cup champion Chad Le Clos also raced inside Olympic cut with a 1:47.20 effort in the semis of the 200m freestyle. Closest to Le Clos in the 200m semis were Darian Townsend, 1:48.26, Sebastian Rousseau, 1:48.58, and Jean Basson, 1:49.02.

Just a second outside the London 2012 cut, 17-year-old Vanessa Mohr won the 100m butterfly in 59.72, 0.09sec ahead of 33-year-old Mandy Loots.