Ho, Du Toit in action | SASCOC - SASCOC

Ho, Du Toit in action

It’s a watersport bonanza in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal when the annual Telkom SA National Aquatics Championships get underway in the coastal city.

The 11-day swimming festival which features synchronized swimming, diving, open water swimming and long course swimming, kicks off with the water polo competition from 8-11 April, and the focus will be on CGA OJ Eagles to see if they are able to retain their hard fought title from 2009.

For Chad Ho and Natalie Du Toit, the first taste of competition will start on 10 April at Midmar for the 10km Open Water Swimming Championships. Both Ho and Du Toit have their sites firmly set on qualifying for the 6th FINA World OWS Championships, which take place in Roberval, Canada from 15th-23rd July.

Ho is no stranger to the world stage after finishing with a bronze at the 2009 World Open Water Swimming Championships, and Natalie du Toit, a recent winner of a Laureus Award, is a world icon having competed at both the Olympics and Paralympics. Both have set their sights on the 10 and 5km swim.

Whilst the open water swimmers have a World Championship to look forward to, the stars in the 50m Kings Park Pool have their eyes fixed on booking a spot to the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India in October. Well known names such as Roland Schoeman, Mandy Loots, Darian Townsend, Gerhard Zandberg and Jean Basson will feel the heat as the new generation starts to snap at their heals.

Not content with merely competing in the open water swim, Natalie Du Toit can also be seen in action in the long course pool in amongst others in the 1500m freestyle where she will meet up with Wendy Trott in what promises to be a riveting duel. In the shorter sprint events, Natalie will also be looking to qualify for the Commonwealth Games in the Elite Athletes with Disabilities category.

Cameron van der Burgh, a world short course record holder in the 50 and 100m breaststroke, is clearly the man to beat in that event; but he will remember the defeat suffered at the hands of Roland Schoeman in 2009 in the 50m breaststroke during the World Cup Series and will not want a repeat of that experience.

Amongst the new generation, Kathryn Meaklim, Jessica Pengelly, Graeme Moore and Gideon Louw are rapidly developing into formidable campaigners while Chanelle Van Wyk is also no stranger to this level of competition and will be very keen book a spot to New Delhi as it is the event which is the perfect grooming competition for the bigger stage of the World Championships and Olympic Games.

Selectors will also keep a keen eye on Chad Le Clos. Already having raked in the medals at the recent Telkom SA Level 3 Championships, and a second place finisher at the Mare Nostrum in Barcelona in 2009, Le Clos is definitely a star of the new generation.

All in all it promises to be an exciting 11 days in eThekwini where no doubt established stars will shine and new ones will rise.