Stars eye short course champs | SASCOC - SASCOC

Stars eye short course champs

Cameron van der Burgh, Roland Schoeman, Chanelle van Wyk, Lyndon Ferns and a host of other South African swim stars will be racing for World Short Course qualifying times as the Telkom SA Short Course Championships takes place at the GC Joliffe Pool, in Pietermaritzburg from 6-9 August.

Rising young star Chad Le Clos will surprisingly only line up in the 200-metre freestyle, possibly as he will be jetting off to Singapore soon after for the inaugural Youth Olympic Games. It does mean though that he will be missed in the 200 and 400m individual medley, events in which he has international success. Instead he will be matching wits with Darian Townsend in the 200m freestyle. Townsend, on qualification times, is the out and out favorite for the title, but don’t write off young Le Clos.

Roland Schoeman holds the world leading mark in the 50m freestyle and is clearly the favourite in this race. He upset the applecart in Durban in April in the men’s 100m long course freestyle final by pipping Gideon Louw. Neither Louw, nor Schoeman will be in the 100m freestyle line up, so the tussle for gold will be between Lyndon Ferns, Graeme Moor and Darian Townsend. Schoeman is once again favorite in the men’s 50m butterfly and with his incredible start and inch-perfect turns, he will be a hard man to beat. It is not for nothing that he is the number two swimmer in the world over the distance.

A slimmed down Cameron van der Burgh will also be one to watch. Van der Burgh is looking to start moving up in distance and has been training hard for the 200m breaststroke where he will be joined by Neil Versfeld.

Wendy Trott is rapidly improving in the 800m and 1500m freestyle, and with her inclusion into the Commonwealth Team, she will be out for fast times in preparation.

Expect a close tussle between Jessica Pengelly and Kathryn Meaklim in the women’s 400m individual medley. Pengelly, who has returned home from Australia to compete in this year’s Telkom SA Short Course Championships, recently broke the continental record in the 1500m freestyle at the Australian Short Course Championships in a time of 16:11.24.

Mandy Loots, who is currently competing in Ireland, will be swimming in the 50, 100 and 200m butterfly as well as the 100, 200 and 400m individual medley. In most of these, she is the fastest qualifier.

All eyes will be on Chanelle Van Wyk too, as she continues her comeback from a near career threatening shoulder injury. Van Wyk is tipped to make the 50m backstroke her own.

Heats begin at 9am with the finals starting at 4pm daily at Pietermaritzburg’s GC Joliffe Pool.