By Mark Els

Theo Verster wasted no time cashing in on a stint of altitude training as he felled Brendon Dedekind's Africa record in the 100-metre individual medley race in Durban on Friday.

Pinetown-based Verster, who swims for Natal Seals, sliced 0,37sec off Dedekind's 55,41 in the morning session of the second day at the shortcourse Telkom International Sprint Challenge.

Earlier Amanda Beard showed Sarah Poewe a pair of bare white heels in the women's 100m breaststroke heats.

The British-born American set a World Championship qualifying time as she beat Cape Town's Poewe, clocking 2min 27,17sec.

Verster - in beating Terence Parkin by three seconds in 55,04 on Friday - also easily met the World Championship qualifying standard of 55,81.

Poewe narrowly missed the mark that ensures qualification to Moscow in April by 0,23sec as she touched in 2:27,74.

It was Beard who denied Poewe a medal at the Sydney 2000 Olympics when she finished third in the 100m breaststroke.

Four years earlier, aged 14, Beard won silver medals behind South African Penny Heyns in both the 100m and 200m events. Verster, aged 26 and now under the guidance of coach Dean Price, returned recently from a World Cup gala in Rio de Janeiro with a handful of medals.

Price has shifted the focus of Verster's Commonwealth Games preparation from training to a more competition-based schedule and Verster came home to dominate both the Central and Northern Gauteng Championships.

Parkin, who won Olympic silver for South Africa at Sydney 2000 in the 200-metre breaststroke, on Thursday led home a trio of qualifiers for the shortcourse World Championships. The 21-year-old deaf Durbanite shaved two seconds off his own best time in the 400m individual medley, beating two swimmers from Great Britain as he lifted the SA shortcourse title in a time of 4min 08,19sec. Parkin finished more than seven seconds ahead of Stephen Parry (4:15,90) and Adrian Turner (4:18,16).

In only final Friday morning, Bloemfontein's Maretha van Wyk annihilated the field with victory in 8:51,44. Her nearest rival, Bianca Meyer, finished 130m behind in 9:37,66. - Sapa