Brad Tandy, who endured a bizarre international debut at the last Commonwealth Games, on Wednesday laid his marker to be selected for the next showpiece in 2018.
The Tandy torpedo may not have been fully primed, but he still sailed along the King’s Park pool to win the 50m freestyle in 22.33sec by over half a second.
The next three finishers, fellow Olympic Doug Erasmus, Ryan Coetzee and Armand Maritz all dipped inside the qualifying time for the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, although a nation can enter only three swimmers per event.
The closest race came in the men’s 200m backstroke where Martin Binedell, 22, had to fight back to touch in 1min 59.59sec and down matriculant Jarryd Baxter, 18, by six-hundredths of a second, with both inside the qualifying mark.
Duné Coetzee and Brent Szurdoki achieved qualification in their second events of the gala, in the 200m butterfly and 1,500m freestyle, while Erin Gallagher ended her campaign winning the 50m backstroke.
With the trials ending on Thursday, 28 swimmers have achieved the winning times.
Tandy has established himself as SA’s premier pool sprinter and will be one of the country’s top medal hopes beside Chad Le Clos and Cameron van der Burgh if he is selected for Gold Coast.
Ranked third in the Commonwealth, the US-based 26-year-old has earned veteran status since his first step onto the international stage at Glasgow 2014, where his first two races were made memorable by freak occurrences.
Preparing for his 50m breaststroke heats at Glasgow 2014 his goggles snapped.
Diving in for the semifinals he dislocated his right shoulder and then it returned into position in the water, but that resulted in an illegal movement that saw him disqualified.
"I have an extravagant dive." Tandy said his shoulder had popped a couple of times in training too. His dive, however, is one of the best in the world, and the key, he says, is using his entire body — pulling with his arms while also kicking hard enough with the back leg to get it higher than the hips in the air.
Tandy’s electric start propelled him into the lead in the biggest race of his life, at the 2016 Games, where he led for the first 35m or so.
"My goal going there was to make the semifinals. By making the final I had achieved beyond my expectations."