Three African records tumbled on the opening day of the second leg of the swimming short-course World Cup on Friday.
South Africans George Du Rand, Cameron van der Burgh and Sebastien Rosseau all set new continental times while Tunisia’s Olympic champion Oussama Mellouli clinched two wins.
Mellouli, the best male athlete during last week’s event in Bela Horizonte in Brazil, won two of his races (the 400m freestyle and the 400m individual medley) and finished second in the other (100m individual medley).
His intriguing race against Riaan Schoeman in the 400m individual medley was the best of the day, with the South African in the lead until the 300m mark only for Mellouli’s experience to win the day.
Du Rand set a new 100m breaststroke record (51.50) in the heats but incredibly opted to miss the final with his plan to go for the record in the 200m breaststroke.
But that backfired badly as he could only finish third in a race won by compatriot Sebastien Rosseau in an African record time of 1:55.73.
Van der Burgh swam the 50m breaststroke in 26.45 to rewrite the continental record.
Kathryn Mekliam, who triumphed in the women’s section in Brazil, had another great day in the pool and even set a national record.
Swimming in her hometown pool, Mekliam easily won the 800m freestyle and the 200m individual medley in which she set a South African record.
She looked good to stay in contention for the 100,000 dollar set aside for the best swimmer in the series that still has five more legs (Sydney, Singapore, Moscow, Stockholm and Berlin) to go.
The competition continues on Saturday with Mellouli and Mekliam looking to win further races.