Chad and Tatjana bag the first qualifying times
Commonwealth Games stars Chad Le Clos and Tatjana Schoenmaker scored the only two world championship qualifying times in the opening session of the SA short-course championships in Durban on Thursday morning.
Le Clos was the fastest in the 100m freestyle heats‚ clocking 47.63sec to head a field where the next five all dipped under 49 seconds.
The entry criterion for the December 11-16 showpiece in China — where swimmers compete in a 25-metre pool that equates to half the Olympic distance — is 47.78.
The way US-based Zane Waddell cruised to 48.30‚ the second-fastest of the morning‚ suggested he could secure his spot in the evening final.
Behind him were Ryan Coetzee‚ another Commonwealth Games medallist‚ in 48.56‚ Olympians Doug Erasmus (48.57) and Leith Shankland (48.85) and Tuks swimmer Armand Maritz (48.90).
Schoenmaker‚ competing in a short course pool for the first time in nearly three years‚ clocked 2:21.52 in the 200m breaststroke — four seconds faster than her nearest rival and more than three seconds inside the qualifying mark.
But she said she felt tired‚ having swum the 100m freestyle earlier in the morning.
Her 56.93 effort in the freestyle placed her seventh well behind front-runner Erin Gallagher (54.95).
The evening finals begin at 5pm.