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SA relay record in Rome

South Africa were able to provide two sprinters for the semi-finals (last 16) of the men’s 50m freestyle at the FINA World Championships on Friday morning.

Roland Schoeman finished third in his heat in 21.82 seconds to place ninth overall and rookie Graeme Moore snuck in in 16th spot overall with a time of 22.04. The Brazilian Cesar Cielo Filho, who on Thursday broke the world 100m freestyle record, was quickest in the heats overall, with 21.37, a World Championship meet record. Some 209 swimmers entered the 50m freestyle.

Elsewhere, Lyndon Ferns was unable to reach the semi-final of the men’s 100m butterfly, after producing a 52.08 performance, off the national record 51.90 he had set at the previous World Championships, but there was still a South African presence in the semis in Corney Swanepoel, who these days swims for New Zealand and who clocked 51.71, for 15th overall.

The men’s 4x200m freestyle quartet of Jean Basson, Darian Townsend, Jan-Albert Venter and Sebastien Rousseau (in that order) broke the South african record with a 7min 08.01sec clocking, which booked them a place in the final, qualifying seventh behind the United States.

Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington, of Britain, was the fastest qualifier in the women’s 800m freestyle with 8:20.53, while Wendy Trott reached her second final of the week when she placed seventh overall from the heats in 8:27.26. That performance was just 1.05 seconds off her national record set in last year’s Olympics in Beijing.

In the women’s 200m backstroke, teenager Jessica Pengelly was a disappointing 32nd overall after the heats and her 2:16.06 was more than nine seconds off the pace set by Zimbabwe’s Olympic gold medallist Kirsty Coventry.