There was little joy for South African swimmers in Wednesday’s morning heats at the Fina World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, writes MARK ETHERIDGE.
Neither Zane Waddell nor Ayrton Sweeney were able to make it through to the next round of the 100m freestyle and 200m individual medley respectively.
Waddell ended 10th and last in his heat. The United States-based swimmer, a product of Grey College, was off in the 10th of 12 heats and clocked a time of 49.99sec.
The heat was won by Ukraine’s Sergii Shevtsove in 48.60, meaning the former Free Stater was 2.39sec back.
His time (around 0.9sec off his best to date) meant 19-year-old Waddell ended as 46th faster of 113 finishers in the heats.
Slowest qualifying time of the 16 men into the semi-finals was the 48.80 swum by Serbia’s Velimir Stjepanovic, meaning the University of Alabama’s Waddell would have had to go 1.19sec quicker to secure his slot.
Australia’s Cameron McEvoy was quickest into the semi-finals with a 47.97 swim.
Speaking to Team SA after his swim Waddell said: ‘Yes, I’m a little unhappy with the swim, but it’s my first World Championships so I’m just getting the experience and growing as a swimmer.
‘I had a little bit of nerves man, but otherwise just the thought of going up against the best in the world can put you on edge. I’ve got the 50 free, which I am mainly focusing on because I qualified for that initially, so I’m really excited for that.
‘The 50 free was my main focus during my preparation for the Championships.’
The 50m freestyle was the event where Waddell won gold at the 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games in Apia, Samoa.
Sweeney was off in lane eight in his IM heat and ended ninth of 10 entrants with a time of 2:04.18, not good enough to make the top 32 to go through.
His time was 32nd of 44 with slowest qualifier, Federico Turrini, swimming a 2:00.23.
In the team stakes South Africa also had representation in the mixed 4x100m relay.
Martin Binedell, Kaylene Corbett, Clayton Jimmie and Erin Gallagher did duty and returned a combined time of 3:57.02 for sixth in their heat behind Australia, who won in 3:44.12. The SA team achieved an African record, but not good enough to go through to the next stage, despite being moved up to fourth, as Hungary and Sweden were disqualified.
South Africa will be looking to make their first impact on the medals table on Wednesday night, with Cameron van der Burgh going off in the 50m breaststroke final and Chad le Clos in the 200m butterfly final.
Picture of Waddell in action on Wednesday courtesy of Francois Xavier Marit/AFP/Getty Images
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