DURBAN – A sense of déjà vu washed over the King’s Park Swimming Pool as splash and dashers Brad Tandy and Douglas Erasmus booked their places for the FINA World Championships during the morning heats of the 50m freestyle in Durban on Friday.
Rio Olympics finallist Tandy clocked the fastest time at the South African Swimming Championships when he touched the wall in a time of 22.07 seconds which launched him into third place on the world rankings list at this early stage of the season.
Fellow Olympian Douglas Erasmus scraped through when he stopped the clock dead on the qualifying time of 22.47secs.
Tandy was the only swimmer other than Chad le Clos and Cameron van der Burgh that made it into a final at the Rio Games finishing sixth in the 50m freestyle final with a personal best time of 21.79 seconds.
“I would like to get under that 22-second mark, I’m not exactly at my peak but I would like to get around my personal best time again,” Tandy said.
“I’ve changed my training a little bit and I would like to see how my body adapts to that in a racing environment.”
Erasmus said he made the mistake of setting a barrier for himself targeting to dip below 22.47 seconds to earn his place to the world championships in Budapest, Hungary.
“That time was in my head, and I just got that time, so why set barriers when you should be swimming as fast as you can,” Erasmus said.
“It is always good to make it in the morning, get it out of the way, and now it is just to see if we can do it through the semi-finals and the finals.”
Schoenmaker edged ever slightly closer to becoming the first South African female to qualify for the world championships since 2013 when she stopped the clock 0.51secs short of the qualifying mark with a time of 2:26.43.
The 19-year-old Schoenmaker has already gone below the 200m breaststroke qualifying time in Stellenbosch in February when she clocked a new personal best of 2:24.93.
At last year’s Olympic trials she missed the qualifying time by 0.01 second but this time around she looks set to earn her place for this year’s world championships and get that monkey off her back.
Dipping his toe in his final event of the championships Chad le Clos posted the fastest time in the 100m butterfly heats clocking 52.63secs.
Le Clos has already posted qualifying times in the 200m and 100m freestyle and the 200m butterfly while he has unofficially met the mark in the 100m butterfly earlier this year.