Ryan Coetzee, Ayrton Sweeney swim their way to SA qualifiers for world champs
Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Ryan Coetzee and Ayrton Sweeney added their names to the list of Fina World Long-Course Championships qualifiers on Wednesday.
Coetzee secured his place for the global showpiece during the morning heats of the 100m butterfly, posting a time of 51.85 seconds at the SA championships in Durban.
He could not repeat the performance during the final at Kings Park, with four-time Olympic medallist Chad le Clos winning in a qualifying time of 51.39.
Le Clos was the first male swimmer to book his place for the world championships in Gwangju, South Korea in July, when he qualified in the 200m butterfly on Monday evening.
Sweeney was in a class of his own in the 400m individual medley, smashing into the wall first in a qualifying time of 4:17.67, which is 0.23 seconds under the required mark.
Erin Gallagher qualified for her second event, racing to victory in the women’s 100m butterfly in a new national record in the process.
Gallagher was the first woman to post a qualifying time when she reached the mark in the 100m freestyle on Monday.
She won the 100m butterfly in a time of 57.67, with Tayla Lovemore finishing behind her by clocking 59.60.
Gallagher now has the South African 50m and 100m freestyle, and 50m and 100m butterfly records behind her name.
The Durbanite broke both Lize-Mari Retief’s records from 2008 on two consecutive nights at the championships.
She chopped 0.53 seconds off Retief’s national 100m butterfly record from the Beijing Olympic Games.
A total of eight swimmers have set qualifying times for the global showpiece, with four men and four women booking places.
Men: Chad le Clos – 200m butterfly, Christopher Reid – 200m backstroke, Ryan Coetzee – 100m butterfly, Ayrton Sweeney – 400m individual medley.
Women: Tatjana Schoenmaker – 200m breaststroke, Kaylene Corbett – 200m breaststroke, Nathania van Niekerk – 200m backstroke, Erin Gallagher – 100m freestyle, 100m butterfly.@ockertde