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SA pick 19 for Rome

All 19 South African swimmers who qualified for the FINA World Championships in Rome have been included in the team.

World 50 metres breaststroke record-holder Cameron van der Burgh and Olympic relay gold medallists Roland Schoeman, Darian Townsend and Lyndon Ferns are among the team for Italy (July 17-August 2).

Swimming SA have been able to go the extra mile to send all 19 swimmers who posted world championship A level qualifying times at the Telkom SA National Aquatics Championships in Durban last month.

Additional assistance for the team has come from the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC), the National Lotteries Distribution Trust Fund and Telkom.

Van der Burgh, who set a world best of 27.06sec in the 50m breaststroke at national championships, will compete in the 50 and 100m breaststroke events, while Schoeman, who joined Townsend, Ferns and Ryk Neethling in the gold medal-winning performance in the 4×100 metres relay at the Athens Olympics in 2004, will compete in the 50 and 100m freestyle and 50m butterfly.

Ferns, who will compete in the 50 and 100m freestyle and 100 metres butterfly, showed fine form at the national championships, on the comeback from a hernia operation in January.

Other swimmers who will be out to make the most of the world championships campaign include Capetonians in Sebastien Rousseau, who bettered his continental record in the 200m butterfly to 1:55.51 in Durban, and Chanelle van Wyk, who set an African best of 28.55 in the 50m backstroke.

US-based Wendy Trott, who took her African record in the 1500m freestyle to 16:10.97 at the national showpiece, will also be a part of the national team, as will Durbanite Riaan Schoeman, who clocked 4:12.07 to eclipse the 400m individual medley continental best of Oussama Mellouli of Tunisia which had stood at 4:13.47.

The Westville Boys High pair of Charl van Zyl (50m backstroke) and Chad le Clos will be making their senior world championship debuts after fine performances at junior international galas last year.

Van Zyl, who posted a world championship qualifying time of 25.71 in the 50m backstroke, got among the medals at the Commonwealth Youth Games held in Pune, India last year, in winning the 50m backstroke (26.52), finishing second in the 100m backstroke (58.87) and claiming bronze in the 200m backstroke (2:05.02).

Le Clos, who clocked a 400m individual medley qualifying time of 4:17.62 to book his place in the SA team for swimming action in Rome, won the 200m breaststroke (2:21.00) and 200m individual medley (2:04.88) at the Commonwealth Youth event.

Also included are Soweto breaststroke star Thabang Moeketsane (50 and 100m breaststroke) and the highly promising Darren Murray for the 200m backstroke.

Murray finished second in the 50m backstroke (26.60secs) and 200m backstroke (2:04.05) as well as third in the 100m backstroke (57.06) at the Commonwealth Youth Games held in Pune, India last year.


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