Gerhard Zandberg’s phenomenal qualifying time of 24.91 secured him a place in today’s 50m backstroke final of the 2011 FINA World Swim Champs in Shanghai.
Zandberg finished third fastest behind Britain’s Liam Tancock (24.62) and France’s Camille Lacourt (24.85).
“I did not feel as good as this morning, especially at the 30m mark so I just backed off a little,” said Zandberg afterwards. “Tancock was also rushing it so it will be an interesting final.”
Zandberg took the gold medal in 2007 at the World Swimming Championships and will certainly be aiming high in this year’s final. If he does achieve a gold, it will allow the South African contingent some breathing space in matching the one gold and two bronze medals from Rome in 2009.
The semi-final of the women’s 50m breaststroke was a highly contested race, with Suzaan van Biljon taking the 14th position overall with a time of 31.97, while Wendy Trott was in 7th place in the 800m freestyle with a time of 8:30.45.
In the 50m freestyle race, Gideon Louw finished in 8th place, clocking an impressive 22.11, with the gold going to World Record holder Cesar Cielo from Brazil in 21.52.
Karin Prinsloo was not so lucky despite a good swim in the women’s 50m freestyle, touching in an encouraging 25.89 to end up 25th overall.
Both Prinsloo and Van Biljon then took to the water to start the women’s 4 x 100m medley relay. Prinsloo recorded a personal best 1:01.30 in the backstroke leg with Van Biljon following in 1:09.10 in the breaststroke leg.
Young Vanessa Mohr took over and did well to clock a 58.43sec for the butterfly while Leone Vorster ended the freestyle leg with a 56.14sec swim. The overall time of 4:04.97 placed them in 15th position.
Heerden Herman completed the South African challenge in the men’s 1500m freestyle, clocking 15:21.92 to end in 17th place overall.
The last day of the FINA World Champs will see Riaan Schoeman and Kathryn Meaklim in the 400m individual medley as well as the men’s 4 x 100m medley relay team.