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Cameron set to cash in

Double short course breaststroke world record-holder Cameron van der Burgh heads a list of top SA swimmers who will be looking to see off a strong international challenge, in a bid to cash in on the opening leg of the lucrative FINA/Arena Swimming World Cup, which will be held at the Kings Park Aquatic Centre in Durban on October 16-17.

At the Telkom SA Short Course Championships held in Pietermaritzburg at the beginning of August, Van der Burgh bettered his own world marks to 25.43 seconds in the 50 metre breaststroke and 55.99 in the 100m breaststroke.

With US$10,000 per world record set up for grabs during the five-leg FINA/Arena Swimming World Cup series, the Tshwane blitz is expected to be in the hunt for more sensational times.

ÔÇ£By bettering the world records at the Telkom SA Short Course Championships in August, I have probably made life more difficult for myself now when there are great financial incentives at stake, but I am really looking forward to the event,ÔÇØ said van der Burgh, who topped the overall points ranking in last year’s series, pocketing the main prize of US$100┬á000.

ÔÇ£My preparations for the FINA/Arena Swimming World Cup have been similar to last year, with much emphasis having been placed on gym-work which converts to power when I am in the swimming pool. I have been in the gym two to three days a week. I am ready for whatever challenge is thrown at me.ÔÇØ

Powered by loyal swimming partners in the form of Sport & Recreation SA, the National Lotteries Distribution Trust Fund, Telkom and the City of eThekwini, fast times are on the cards with the likes of Roland Schoeman (who set a world best of 20.30 in the 50 metres freestyle at the national short course championships) also likely to be keen to get among the money.

American backstroke star Peter Marshall will also be making the trip to Durban, with his 50m backstroke clash against Gerhard Zandberg set to be one of the highlights of the two-day international event.

Australian Marieke Guehrer, who collected the $100,000 prize money for topping the points standing in last year’s FINA/Arena Swimming World Cup,┬áwill be out in search of glory in the 50m butterfly event, where she is set to clash with the Swedish pair of Therese Alshammar (second in last year’s FINA/Arena Swimming World Cup points standings) and Sarah Sjostrom, as well as SA’s three-time Olympian Mandy Loots.

Guehrer national team-mates in Liesel Jones (100 metres breaststroke), Sophie Edington (100 metres backstroke) and Ashley Delaney (100 and 200 metres backstroke).

With US$1,500 for a gold medal, $1000 for silver and $500 for bronze at stake, the dash for cash has attracted the interest of the world’s best, with the Dutch trio of Inge Dekker (50 and 100m butterfly and 50 and 100m freestyle), Hinkelien Schreuder (50 and 100m freestyle, 50 and 100m backstroke and 50 and 100m butterfly) and Ranomi Kromowidjojo (50, 100 and 200m freestyle, 50 and 100m backstroke, 50 and 100m butterfly) out to ensure a tough two days of swimming for the likes of Alshammar and Sjostrom.

Durbanite Kathryn Meaklim will have fond memories of her 2008 FINA/Arena Swimming World Cup campaign, where she ended third overall on the points standings to bank $30 000, and will be looking to recapture some of that fine form.

Fellow KwaZulu Natal swim stars such as Darian Townsend, Riaan Schoeman, Charl van Zyl and Chad le Clos, will also be looking to give the local swimming fans much to cheer about.

In reaction to the news of the world class swim field that has been assembled for the opening leg of the premier world short course series in Durban, Swimming SA CEO Shaun Adriaanse said: ÔÇ£Through the hosting of the FINA/Arena Swimming World Cup here in Durban, a platform has been created for our elite swimmers to challenge the world’s best in a bid to land medals and prize money, while many of our country’s rising swim talent, will have the opportunity of gaining much international experience which will stand them in good stead in time to come.

ÔÇ£Following the success of the SA team at the FINA World Championships held in Rome, Italy in July, followed by the fine showing by our swimmers at the Telkom SA Short Course Championships held in Pietermaritzburg, the stage is set for two days of world class swimming action.ÔÇØ

The morning session of the swimming takes place at the Kings Park Aquatic Centre on October 16-17 from 9.30am with the evening programme beginning at 5.30pm. Entrance to watch the swimming is free of charge.

Following, the Durban leg of the series in which 115 SA swimmers and 58 foreign athletes will be in action, the FINA/Arena Swimming World Cup moves to Moscow, Russia (November 6-7), Stockholm, Sweden (November 10-11), Berlin, Germany November 14-15) and Singapore (November 21-22).


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