Roland Schoeman and Chad le Clos kept the South African flag flying high on the sixth day of the 15th Fina World Championships.
Schoeman got it right in the 50m freestyle by qualifying for today’s final. Swimming in an outside lane, Schoeman had a brilliant start and finished third in his semifinal in a time of 21.67 seconds and seventh overall. This equals his South African and African record which he swam at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
“I am happy with my performance (last night). I equalled my African record and I proved that I can still swim my best times. I believe I can still push it with two-tenths of a second in the final. This was far better than the heats in the morning when I changed my stroke at 35m and it did not work out well.
“I’ve had a lot of setbacks in my career and there were a lot of people that said I must retire, but I live by my rules and I showed that I can bounce back. I will get up even if I fall a hundred times. I will pick myself up a hundred times,” said a smiling Schoeman.
Golden boy Le Clos once again won his semifinal in a time of 51.52, just 0.10 seconds off his South African record of 51.42 which he swam at the London Olympics, winning a silver medal in the event. He finished second overall with the American Ryan Lochte setting the fastest time of 51.48.
“I was really happy with my time as it is very close to my best time. I believe I will have to go a lot faster tomorrow (today) if I want to win. There is a strong field out there. Lochte looked good out there and he is very strong under the water so I will have to be at my best, but I am very excited for tomorrow’s race,” said Le Clos.
Karin Prinsloo failed to qualify for the final of the 200m backstroke, but the Pretoria-based swimmer was happy with her performance. She finished 10th in 2:10.04, just 0.01 seconds of Melissa Corfe’s South African record of 2:10.03.
“I am happy with my time in the event as I finished 16th at last year’s Olympics and now I was in 10th place so it means I am improving in the rankings,” said Prinsloo. She was disappointed that she had missed Corfe’s South African record. “I was aiming to better that record and I came so close,” she said.
Earlier in the day Kyna Perreira failed to qualify for the semifinal of the 800m freestyle when she finished 28th overall in 8:54.10. Trudi Marre finished 32nd in the 50m butterfly in 27.40.
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