Men’s 200m Freestyle, Heats: Chad le Clos showed his intent by getting off the blocks quickly and leading through 175m before he was touched off by Australia’s Kyle Chambers in their heat. Le Clos timed 1:47.37, which qualified him for the final in sixth position. Just as he likes it … the ‘underdog’.
Eben Vorster, who turns 22 later this month, finished sixth in his heat in 1:50.78, which placed him 18th overall and he’ll be watching Le Clos go for gold from the stands.
Women’s 50m Freestyle, Heats: Erin Gallagher and Emma Chelius found themselves in the same heat and both got the job done. Gallagher chased home Australia’s Bronte Campbell, the South African timing 25.21, while Chelius touched in 25.62. The performances placed them fifth and eighth fastest, respectively, and qualified them for the semi-finals. Semi-finals:Erin Gallagher finished third in her semi-final, in a time of 25.03, which placed her fifth fastest qualifier for the final. Emma Chelius was fourth in her semi in 25.89 and was involved in a swim off for a place in the final right at the end of the evening, a two-woman race. She came up against Kalia Antoniou of Cyprus.
Men’s 100m Breaststroke, Heats: Cameron van der Burgh started fast, as we have come to expect and turned in front in 27.50. He was overhauled by England’s James Wilby but timed 1:00.20, which qualified him for the semi-finals in third place behind England’s Adam Peaty.
Michael Houlie also earned a swim in the evening’s semi-finals by finishing fourth (1:01.66) in the same heat as Van der Burgh and qualified ninth fastest for the semis. Semi-finals:Cameron van der Burgh heads into the final on Saturday following a second-place finish behind Adam Peaty in their semi-final, while Bishops matriculant Michael Houlie, sixth in the same race, produced a personal best 1:01.47. That left him in 10th spot overall and missing out on the final but the teenager was elated with his first Commonwealth Games.
Women’s 100m Backstroke, Heats: Nathania van Niekerk swam up to expectations, with an almost identical time to her entry time. She clocked 1:02.81 to place sixth in her heat but, importantly, allowed her to squeeze into the top 16 and a place in the semi-finals.
Just missing out was Mariella Venter, who produced a 1:03.79 swim, also for sixth in her heat, to leave her one position outside the semis. She won’t be happy with her performance, given she had come into the Games with a 1:01.71. Semi-finals: Nathania van Niekerk missed out on a place in the final after finishing eighth in her semi-final in a time of 1:03.06.
Men’s 400m Individual Medley, Heats: There were only 10 entries for this demanding event, and they were split into two heats, with the fastest eight times overall qualifying for the final. Ayrton Sweeney had no problems doing just that, an impressive second (4:18.08) behind Australia’s Clyde Lewis. It was the faster of the two heats and Sweeney must fancy his medal chances.
Luan Grobbelaar just turned 16 on 16 March and is competing in his first major senior championship. He arrived in Australia with a best of 4:22.58 and although he finished at the back of a small five-man field in 4:22.77 and didn’t qualify for the finals, he will have learned enormously from the experience. Final: Ayrton Sweeney missed out on a medal in his first major championship final, clocking 4:17.79 to finish fourth, in a race won by Australia’s Clyde Lewis in 4:13.12. Sweeney was 3.37 seconds off the bronze medal position.
Men’s 4x100m Freestyle Relay: Chad le Clos has earmarked a medal from Team SA in this event, but given his workload he was rested for the morning heats. Only 12 countries entered for the 4×100 and it was always on the cards that Team SA, without Le Clos, would reach the final. Which they did – thanks to Jarryd Baxter (51.00), Ryan Coetzee (50.47), Calvyn Justus (49.67) and Eben Vorster (50.36). Not much should be read into times in relay heats, but for what it’s worth Team SA clocked 3:21.50 to qualify seventh fastest overall behind Australia, a Games record 3:12.72.
Men’s 50m Butterfly Final: GOLD! Chad le Clos left the blocks last but powered to the wall first to win gold in 23.37, getting the better of Dylan Carter of Trinidad and Tobago, while Ryan Coetzee’s fairytale Games continued withnthe bronze in 23.73, for his first Major medal.
Women’s 50m Breaststroke, Final: Tatyana Schoenmaker produced the fastest breaststroke one lap of her life to finish fourth in the final, her time of 30.82 being an African record and 0.01 sec faster than the time Penny Heyns set in Australia in 1999. Schoenmaker’s favourite event is the 200m, where she’s a real medal candidate.
Men’s 200m Freestyle, Final: Chad le Clos was back on the blocks in what seemed little more than the blink of an eye, following his 50m butterfly gold, and the ensuing medal ceremony and national anthem. He started off fast, leading the field through the 50m and halfway (100m) marks before two big finals in 20 minutes took their toll on him and he faded in the last 100m to finish seventh in 1:47.46.
Men’s 4x100m Freestyle, Final: South Africa placed sixth in a final predictably won by Australia, who were just short of their Games record of the heats. The Aussies stopped the clock in 3:12.96. Team SA timed 3:17.27. Calvin Justus started off with a 49.98, followed by Chad le Clos, who made up huge ground to take South Africa into third at halfway, with a 47.97 leg that was the second fastest of the final. Brad Tandy (49.36) and Ryan Coetzee (49.96) then brought Team SA home.