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Jul 28 14

Townsend sets world masters record in 100 fly

by ZwemZa
Darian Townsend

Darian Townsend

A few days after earning U.S. citizenship, Darian Townsend visited the Arizona Masters long course championships for some pre-nationals preparation, and set a Masters world record in the process.

Townsend swam a 53.65 in the 100 butterfly to take down the four-year-old world record of 54.19 by Romanian Stefan Gherghel in the 30-34 age group. Gherghel was a multiple NCAA All-American in butterfly and had served as an assistant coach at the University of Alabama and Arizona State University.

For Townsend, it is not far off his best of the season, a 53.24 from the Phoenix Summer Invitational last month. That time ranks him seventh among Americans for 2014. Townsend intends to race the 100 butterfly at U.S. nationals in 10 days, one of five events he’ll swim in his bid to qualify for his first Team USA roster spot for the Pan Pacific championships.

Townsend also posted a 24.84 in the 50 fly and worked just the backstroke and breaststroke legs of the 200 IM, posting a 2:13.44. Though Townsend does not officially turn 30 until August 28, FINA rules for Masters swimming dictate that a person’s age in long course and short course meters meets is their age on December 31 of that calendar year.

For the full story go to Swimming World Magazine

Jul 28 14

Glasgow 2014 : SA relay team take bronze

by ZwemZa

British Gas Swimming Championships 2014: Day OneThe SA men’s 4x200m freestyle relay team have won the bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow on Sunday.

The team comprising of Myles Brown, Chad le Clos, Sebastien Rousseau and Dylan Bosch finished behind winners Australia and hosts Scotland.

Jul 28 14

SASCOC clears bid confusion

by ZwemZa

Gideon-Sam111The South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) has corrected the misconception as reported in the Sunday Times newspaper regarding South Africa’s 2022 Commonwealth Games bid.

SASCOC confirmed they followed the right procedure and engaged various stakeholders which include: City of Durban, Durban Tourism, KZN Tourism, Department of Sport KZN and Premier’s office in the exploratory work.

As per process, SASCOC, which represents Commonwealth Games Association South Africa has given an indication to the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) of the city of Durban’s intention to bid for Commonwealth Games in 2022 while in consultation with Honorable Minister of Sports and Recreation South Africa, Fikile Mbalula, whilst on the other hand SASCOC is engaging with the CGF.

Mbalula is following government due process in relation to securing national cabinet approval to endorse the bid process.

The issue of an Olympic bid will unfold at a point and time when the International Olympic Committee (IOC) informs the Olympic Committees of the world of the bidding process and the date for opening such a bidding process.

Jul 27 14

Glasgow 2014 : Golden day for Team SA

by ZwemZa
Chad le Clos & Sebastien Rosseau

Chad le Clos & Sebastien Rosseau

South Africa’s medal momentum continued in the pool at day three of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow on Saturday with Chad le Clos a runaway gold medallist in the 200m butterfly and fellow South African Sebastien Rosseau claiming bronze.

Le Clos clocked 1:55.07 to improve his Delhi Games record by 1.41 seconds.

Then fellow South African and world record-holder Cameron van der Burgh claimed the silver medal in the 100m breastroke, after being hauled in by England’s Adam Peaty, who set a new Games record of 58.94 seconds.

Le Clos’ gold was Team South Africa’s third of the day, adding to the gold won in the mixed pair visually impaired lawn bowls and Zack Piontek’s gold in the 90kg judo division.

Le Clos’ surge over the final 50m opened a significant lead over Australian rival Grant Irvine, who was 1.27 seconds adrift at the touch.

“It was according to plan,” said Le Clos who with coach Graham Hill had expected that a 1:55 would be required.

“I tried to keep it for the last 50 and power off the wall, but I was a bit nervous because last night [Friday] I went over on my ankle getting off the bus at the village and worried that it might affect me tonight.

“Thanks to the physios it was all okay,” said the Durban-based swimmer, who hopes to go after Michael Phelps’ world record of 1:51.51 next year.

The gold completed a full house for Le Clos, who won silver in the 4x100m relay and bronze in the 50m butterfly on Thursday night.

It also kept him on track to achieve his target of winning seven medals at a Games, one more than Australian Ian Thorpe has achieved.

Rousseau, who turned at 100m in second place, added a second bronze to the 400m individual medley he won on Thursday night with a 1:56.43.

“This is the first Games where I’ve got medals and podiums, so it’s a big positive movement for me,” the American-based Rousseau said.

Van der Burgh gave his all in the 100m breaststroke but had to settle for the silver medal.

Leading from the start, the Olympic champion turned with a significant lead in 27.32 seconds, but England’s Peaty had other ideas and drew level with 25 metres remaining.

It was then a stroke-by-stroke battle to the wall with the 19-year-old Englishman out-touching Van der Burgh by 0.34 seconds.

“It was a lot harder than last night. Tonight (Saturday) I just seized up over the last 25. It’s back to the drawing board,” said Van der Burgh.

“That’s how things go, you can’t always win. When I turned I thought I had it for sure. In the warm-up I was looking better than in the Olympics, but rather (that it happened) this year than any other year.

“It’s motivation to get working hard again and to get back to winning ways,” said Van Der Burgh.

Peaty has rewritten the Games record on each of his outings and is closing on Van der Burgh’s world mark of 58.46 set at the London Olympics.

South Africa bagged their first gold earlier on Saturday when Herman Scholtz and Gyndolene Nel outplayed the host nation 14-10 in the para mixed pairs visually impaired competition.

It wasn’t all plain sailing for the pairing, who worked with their directors, Geoff Newcombe and Annatjie van Rooyen.

“Before the game I said, ‘this is what we came to Scotland for. We’re going to play the team and the crowd’,” said Newcombe.

“At 10-10 we thought it was slipping away but we knew we could do it. They (Scholtz and Nel) have big match temperament. It was a fantastic achievement.”


Jul 27 14

Mbalula slapped down over Commonwealth bid announcement

by ZwemZa
Fikile Mbalula

Fikile Mbalula

Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula appears to have jumped the gun when he announced in Glasgow that Durban would bid to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

According to the Sunday Times, Mbalula broke the news at the Commonwealth Games Federation general assembly last week and said he could “guarantee” that the government will play its part in hosting the most successful sporting events in South Africa.

However, it has since emerged that no discussions of this nature have been held by government.

According to the newspaper, KwaZulu-Natal premier Senzo Mchunu’s office contacted Mbalula shortly after his announcement to inform him that the 2022 Games were not on the province’s list of priorities.

Communication’s Minister Faith Muthambi said no discussions about hosting the Games had been held and that they would “follow up” with Mbalula on his return to South Africa.

However, when contacted by the Sunday Times, Mbalula admitted that his announcement did not have cabinet approval.

Official opening

Queen Elizabeth II officially opened the 2014 Commonwealth Games on Wednesday in Glasgow after a moving and colourful ceremony staged at the famed home of Celtic football club.

The 20th Commonwealth Games will feature 17 sports across 11 days of competition with more than 4500 athletes from 71 nations competing, making the event the biggest Scotland has ever hosted.

“To you, the Commonwealth athletes, I send my good wishes for success in your endeavours,” Queen Elizabeth told the athletes.

“You remind us that young people, those under 25 years of age, make up half of our Commonwealth citizens; and it is to you that we entrust our values and our future.

Meanwhile, Cameron van der Burgh added to Team SA’s medal tally at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland with silver in the men’s 100m breaststroke final on Saturday, while South Africa’s Olympic champion Chad le Clos won gold when he retained his Commonwealth Game 200m butterfly title in a Games record of 1:55:07.

Jul 27 14

Glasgow 2014 : le Clos: ‘I respect everyone I race against’

by ZwemZa

chad-le-clos_1South Africa swimmer Chad le Clos has insisted that he has complete respect for his opponents after he was seen turning his head during the 200m butterfly final at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games on Saturday evening.

The 22-year-old soared to the wall in the final 50m to secure a gold medal in 1:55.07, which is a new Commonwealth record.

After collecting his honour, Le Clos was asked by reporters if he was signalling to his competitors that he was in front during the race, to which the South African replied: “Nah, I don’t mean to disrespect anyone. Whoever I’m racing I have a lot of respect for. I always do that, it’s not such a good thing. I should stop that.”

Australia’s Grant Irvine nabbed silver, while Le Clos’s teammate Sebastien Rousseau earned a spot on the podium with a bronze medal.

Daneille Joynson

Jul 27 14

Glasgow 2014 : Injury almost ruined my race to gold, says Le Clos

by ZwemZa

An ankle injury nearly prevented Olympic champion

Chad le Clos

Chad le Clos

from successfully defending his 200 metres butterfly title at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow on Saturday.

The South African, who added gold to the silver and bronze he won in the pool on Friday, looked comfortable as he breezed to victory in one minute 55.07 seconds ahead of Australia’s Grant Irvine and Le Clos’s compatriot Sebastien Rousseau.

Yet the Olympic 200 butterfly champion said he feared things would not turn out so well after he fell on his ankle when getting off a bus the previous evening.

“I was really nervous. I came to the pool in heavy strapping and I had this puffy ankle,” the 22-year-old said after defending the title he won in Delhi in 2010.

“This morning I was in a little bit of pain but I had 10 hours to rest it and didn’t feel it tonight.”

Le Clos also won the 400 individual medley at the Commonwealth Games four years ago but chose not to defend his title in Glasgow, meaning the 200 butterfly took on extra significance.

“It was very important for me to defend my title because I didn’t defend my 400 metres title last night,” he said

“We came into this competition not in the greatest shape, a little bit cagey due to the sickness I had a couple of weeks ago. I was in the altitude room and I had really bad asthma. To come here tonight and win the gold was the main goal.
“Two hundred butterfly is my bread and butter. It’s the breakout event that I did four years ago and it’s the race I haven’t lost now since London. It’s my pride, call it my territory if you like.”
Le Clos beat 18-times Olympic champion Michael Phelps in the same event at the London 2012 Olympic Games to shock the world of swimming.
That victory prompted impassioned celebrations on BBC television from his father Bert, who instantly became a worldwide celebrity thanks to the circulation of the video on the internet.

At the Glasgow 2014 Games, Bert has been the subject of much media attention and has been continually surrounded by fans asking for photographs in the stands, while watching his son compete.

Chad says he is happy for his father to share the spotlight with him as the pair are inseparable.

“My Dad is my best friend, for him to take the limelight, I’m happy with that,” he smiled.

“We come as a package deal. Wherever we go sometimes it’s like ‘I didn’t know it was you Chad but I recognised your Dad first’. It works both ways, we’re like twins.”

He will now look to add to his medal haul and will compete in the 100m butterfly on Sunday before racing again in the 200m individual medley on Tuesday.


Jul 27 14

Glasgow 2014 : Fran Halsall and Adam Peaty lift English gloom with golden double

by ZwemZa
Fran Halsall took 50m freestyle gold to secure her ninth Commonwealth Games medal since her debut at Melbourne 2006. (Getty Images)

Fran Halsall took 50m freestyle gold to secure her ninth Commonwealth Games medal since her debut at Melbourne 2006. (Getty Images)

In the packed, cramped, swampy heat, two moments of cold precision suggested that British swimming is lifting itself out of the doldrums.

First there was Fran Halsall, the 24-year-old from Southport, holding on to defend her 50m freestyle title against the fearsome Campbell sisters from Australia – Cate and Bronte – who were ranked first and second in the world.

Then, with a succession of rapid teenage kicks, Adam Peaty – a 19-year-old student from Derby – came from a second behind at the turn to beat the Olympic champion Cameron van der Burgh in the men’s 100m breaststroke.

Peaty, who studies exercise science at Derby College, clearly puts theory into practice, with nine two-hour pool sessions a week and five one-hour gym sessions. Halsall also credited pumping iron after a performance that was among the best of her career.

“I can’t believe it!” Peaty said. “It’s a dream. I’ve studied Van der Burgh for a while, he was my idol now my rival so I know he goes off quick but I caught him.”

And how. At the turn, Peaty was a second down on the South African but stroke by stroke he closed before finishing in 58.94sec – the first British swimmer to break the 59-second barrier. Van der Burgh was second in 59.28, with Scotland’s Ross Murdoch claiming bronze in 59.47.

As Peaty celebrated his first major gold, Halsall was drawing breath after winning her ninth Commonwealth Games medal having made her debut as an elfin 16-year-old in Melbourne in 2006.

“I felt a bit sick and nervous as I knew I was swimming well so it was nerves and adrenaline mixed into one,” she said. “I was like ‘Oh dear, Fran, you’ve got to relax’ as sometimes I can get a bit carried away.”

Not this time. In the blurry dash of swimming’s shortest distance, Halsall started fast and held her form and nerve to get the touch ahead of Cate, who had stretched all of her 6ft 1in frame at the finish. Not that she was sure of victory but as the scoreboard flashed her name and time of 23.96sec – a Commonwealth record and the fastest in the world this year – blank doubt was replaced by a broad smile. Cate Campbell was second in 24.00 and Bronte third in 24.20.

“I’ve been doing a hell of a lot of gym this year,” Halsall said. “My strength gains have been the best they’ve ever been. I also work with lady called Sarah from Steve Peters’ group and she helps me get in the right place.

“I’m not a person who shies away from a race – I’m a person that gets overexcited and overtires so it’s about reeling me back. She makes me calm and ready to race fast.”

Halsall believes this victory can propel her forward to greater glories, and after this evidence you would not rush to disagree. She was one of Britain’s best hopes at the 2012 Olympics but suffered a shoulder injury that interrupted her preparations and she came fifth in the 50m freestyle and the 4x100m relay, and sixth in the 100m freestyle. Now she wants to put that right. “This puts me on track to where I want to be at the Rio Olympics,” she said. “I’m in a good place two years out.”

Later in the evening Halsall broke another Commonwealth Games record as she qualified for Sunday’s 50m butterfly final in a time of 25.36sec – more than half a second quicker than the next quickest, Arianna Vanderpool.

There was more joy for England as Molly Renshaw finished strongly to win bronze in the women’s 200m breaststroke, while the women’s 4x200m freestyle team also finished third. There was success for Wales, too, as Georgia Davies won silver behind Australia’s Emily Seebohm in the women’s 100m backstroke.

Chad Le Clos, the South African Olympic and world 200m butterfly champion, defended his Commonwealth title despite fearing he might not be able to swim after twisting his ankle stepping off a bus on Friday.

He showed few signs of the injury as, after a steady first three lengths, he powered to victory in 1min 55.07sec, a Commonwealth Games record. The Australian Grant Irvine was a long way back in second in 1:56.43, while another South African, Sebastien Rousseau, took bronze in 1:56.43. Scotland’s Cameron Brodie, who had finished fastest in qualifying, was fourth – only 0.16 off a medal.

Le Clos said: “I was nervous as I didn’t know if I was able to swim or not. I didn’t have that smooth a preparation. I wasn’t expecting to go fast in 200. I’m just really happy.”

Jul 26 14

Glasgow 2014 : Le Clos reigns supreme and targets more

by ZwemZa
Chad le Clos and coach Graham Hill

Chad le Clos and coach Graham Hill

Chad le Clos has made no secret of the fact that he has targeted a record seven medals from these Commonwealth Games and after three finals in Glasgow he already has a full house.

Le Clos is not a superstar by South African standards only. He’s a global phenomenon. ‘I’d like to break [Australian] Ian Thorpe’s record of six medals in a Games. I now have three, have swum two personal best times in the process and set a Games record.

‘I’d like to think I’ve got a chance here of winning four golds and three others. I’ve said before that my preparation this year hasn’t been great and next year I’d like to see if I can attack Michael Phelps’ [200m butterfly] world record.’

Le Clos was in a class of his own again on Saturday night, again turning his head to seek out the opposition and then applying the after burners in the final 50m as he raced home to win the 200m butterfly gold – his signature event – in 1min 55.07sec, with Australia’s Grant Irvine 1.27sec behind.

Sebastien Rousseau battled on gamely for his second bronze of the championships (1:56.43) after also picking up bronze in the 400m individual medley on Friday night and then paid tribute to the ‘amazing gees’ within Team South Africa’s squad. ‘The atmosphere is great … it’s almost as though we’re not swimming for ourselves but for others in the team. I was in a lot of pain tonight, but it was worth it. My best time would have given me the silver, but I left it all out there in the pool.’

There had been an overnight scare for Le Clos while getting off the bus after arriving back at the village with the team. ‘I slipped and twisted my right ankle. I actually got a fright because I thought, whoa, I might be a bit hurt. This morning the ankle was swollen and we applied ice but it was still sore coming here for the heats. Luckily it didn’t affect me much,’ he revealed.

In 2010 in New Delhi Le Clos had announced his arrival on the international stage with a Commonwealth Games record in 1:56.48. Although he had downed Phelps at London 2012 to win Olympic gold in 1:52.96, he and coach Graham Hill planned to race a 1:55 on Saturday night.

‘With respect to the other swimmers, because I respect them all, tonight was all about the win and not the time. It all went according to plan. I just had to get my hands to the wall first, that was my goal. I wanted to keep it comfortable.’

Le Clos’ gold pushed the Team SA tally up to three for the day after para lawn bowls and judo had earlier got the country off the mark.

Leigh Shankland reached Sunday’s final of the men’s 100m freestyle after finishing third in his heat in 49.35, which was faster than the 49.64 he had timed in the morning heats. He will go into the final with confidence as the fourth quickest after also performing well in the 4x100m freestyle, where an impressive third leg helped the team to the silver medal.

He will be the lone swimmer in the event after Clayton Jimmie finished sixth in his semi-final in 50.50.

Gary Lemke
Jul 26 14

Glasgow 2014 : Australia has a new queen

by ZwemZa
 Taylor McKeown with her gold medal. Picture: Adam Head (News Corp Australia)

Taylor McKeown with her gold medal. Picture: Adam Head (News Corp Australia)

Australia has found a new breaststroke queen with rookie Taylor McKeown leading another golden day at the pool with an emotional victory in the 200m.

On a day where Australia’s female stars led the way it was the deliriously happy McKeown who shone brightest with a powerful victory in 2:22.36 with teammate Sally Hunter taking silver in 2:23.33.

Meanwhile, the Campbell sisters Cate and Bronte created history, sharing the podium as silver and bronze medallists in the 50m freestyle won by England’s Fran Halsall.

Flying the flag for the Aussie men was Daniel Fox who won gold in the para-sport 200m freestyle in 1:57.89, narrowly missing his own world record from the heats.

Brisbane’s Grant Irvine (1:56.34) threatened one of the biggest upsets of the Games when he led Olympic champ Chad Le Clos (1:55.07) at the 150m mark, only to be overhauled in the final 25m of the 200m butterfly final.


Brittany Elmslie in action with swimsuit intact.

Brittany Elmslie in action with swimsuit intact. (Getty Images)


It could have been a moment to rival the Queen selfie for global media attention, but a teammate’s quick-thinking helped Brittany Elmslie to avoid becoming the social media star of the Games.

Alarm bells were ringing for rising star Elmslie, 20, when her swimsuit straps snapped as she strode to the starting blocks for her 50m butterfly heat.

Teammate Madeline Groves hastily tied them together with a hairband but Elmslie feared the worst as she hit the water.


Brittany Elmslie narrowly avoided a wardrobe malfunction in the pool. Picture: Jerad WIll

Brittany Elmslie narrowly avoided a wardrobe malfunction in the pool. Picture: Jerad WIlliams (News Corp Australia)

“It could have gone one of two ways – my suit falling off and boobs hanging out or it holds together and we are all good,” she laughed.

Thankfully it was the latter.

The London Olympic gold medallist (26.18 seconds) overcame the wardrobe malfunction to qualify second fastest for Saturday night’s 50m semi-finals.

Todd Balym

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