2021 SOUTH AFRICAN NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
Kaylene Corbett swam a 2:25.18 200 breaststroke during a Saturday night time trial at the 2021 South African National Championships. That swim got under the FINA A standard and South African Olympic selection cut of 2:25.52.
Corbett raced the event at the meet twice before her 2:25.18 and was just over the cut both times, hitting a 2:26.57 in the prelims and a 2:26.59 in the finals. Based on the time trial swim, Corbett will likely be named to the official South African Olympic team considering that there is still one spot available to join South African record holder Tatjana Schoenmaker who posted a 2:20.17 NR in the finals of the event.
Corbett had already been under the FINA A during the Olympic qualification period which runs from March 1, 2019 – June 27, 2021, when she hit a 2:24.18 at the 2019 World Championships. While she could have potentially been named to the team with that 2019 2:24, the fact that she got under the FINA A again in 2021 will only strengthen her case for selection.
Should she be officially named to South Africa’s Olympic squad, Tokyo will be Corbett’s Olympic debut as well as a shot to improve upon her 8th place finish at World Championships in the 200 breaststroke back in 2019. Corbett’s 2:25.18 makes her the 24th fastest woman in the event this season.
Having both Corbett and Schoenmaker in the 200 breast at the Olympics this summer would constitute the first time the country enters two women in the same event at an Olympic Games since 2008. The duo also has a shot to bring South Africa’s 200 breast back to the level they were in back in the late 90s when Penny Heyns won gold in the 100 and 200 breaststrokes at the 1996 Olympics while Julia Russell placed 12th. Four years later Heyns missed the semi-finals of the 200 with a 2:30.17 while Sarah Poewe advanced to the final in the event and placed 6th with a 2:27.84.
Corbett swimming under the FINA A standard in the 200 breast makes for 6 swimmers total to get under the respective cut in their events at this week’s Trials.
FINA A Cuts Hit At 2021 South African National Championships