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Myles Brown, Rene’ Warnes soar at nationals

Myles Brown and Rene' Warnes both bounced back from a disappointing Commonwealth Games by recording impressive performances on the opening night of action at the South African Short Course Swimming Championships in Pietermaritzburg on Thursday.

The meet, taking place at the GC Joliffe Swimming Pool, is doubling up as a qualifier for the World Championships in Doha during December, with most of the country’s medal winners from Glasgow in attendance.

There were nine individual qualifying times posted by the competitors on day one.

Brown was particularly impressive on his way to winning the 200 metres freestyle final in a time of one minute, 43.95 seconds (1:43.95), crushing an impressive field that also included fellow Commonwealth medallists Chad le Clos and Leith Shankland.

All three swimmers were inside the 1:46.59 qualifying time for Qatar – Le Clos, a winner of seven medals in Scotland, coming second in 1:44.07 and Shankland following in 1:44.97.

“I knew it was going to be a tough race and I knew Leith was going to take it out hard, so I was just trying to sit with him,” said Brown, whose time was the fastest in the world in 2014.

“When I saw at 150 metres to go I was ahead of Chad, I knew he was going to be closing in hard.

“I just put my head down and went for it. I’m glad I got that time, because that was the time I was chasing.”

Brown entered three events in Scotland and came away with a single bronze medal from the 200m relay final.

“I had a very disappointing time there and I needed to bounce back and contend for medals in other meets I enter,” Brown added. “That’s the goal for the rest of the season.”

Another Commonwealth Games champion, Cameron van der Burgh, was equally impressive as he opened his account with a comfortable victory in the 200m breaststroke final.

The 26-year-old from Pretoria posted a time of 2:06.42, well inside the required 2:10.62, with Ayrton Sweeney (2:11.22) second followed by Mark Hunter (2:12.95).

Two other men dipped under qualifying times in their final – Sebastien Rousseau, a quadruple medal winner in Glasgow, and Michael Meyer as they swam times of 4:06.78 and 4:07.31 respectively in the 400m individual medley final.

The time they were chasing was 4:15.31.

In other races, South Africa’s golden boy Le Clos was the fastest qualifier for the 50m butterfly semis with 23.09, while Charl Crous (53.78) was the quickest in the 100m backstroke.

Warnes entered five events at the Commonwealth Games with her best showing being when she was part of the 200m freestyle relay team that came sixth.

But she was the star of the women’s show on Thursday as she posted qualifying times in two finals.

The 22-year-old sailed through her 200m butterfly race in 2:10.78 and needed 4:41.32 for her 400m medley – the times she chased down were 2:10.82 and 4:42.39.

“I didn’t expect that,” Warnes, also from KwaZulu-Natal, said.

“I kind of just went out there and had it in the back of my mind that I could do it.

It obviously came down to the type of race I had, so I’m pleased obviously.”

There was also a qualifying time in the 100m backstroke semi-final where Jessica Ashley-Cooper swam a quick 59.40 chasing a qualifying time of 1:00.06, with South Africa’s top female swimmer Karin Prinsloo (1:00.34) second.

Finally, Tara Nicholas (31.61) was the quickest qualifier in the 50m breaststroke, while the national 1500m freestyle title went to Megan van Wyk in a time of 17:07.13.

– Sapa

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