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Stars come out in PE
- Updated: January 18, 2011
The friendly city of Port Elizabeth will be the venue for some cut-throat rivalries with some of the top local and international athletes in action at the SA International Invitational Swimming Meet on 29-30 January.
The South African contingent will be up against the likes of Brazil, USA, Great Britain, Zimbabwe, Spain, Germany, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia and Venezuela at the Newton Park Swimming Pool.
The 50-metre breaststroke will certainly be an interesting race as world champion Cameron van der Burgh strives to uphold his status when he competes against Brazil’s Joao Luiz Gomes Junior and Henrique Barbosa.
The 400m individual medley race, in which Le Clos claimed gold at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in India, will also see SA’s Riaan Schoeman and Germany’s Yannick Lebherz (who is currently the European championships runner-up in that event) vying for the top spot.
Expect a powerful performance from both Gerhard Zandberg and USA’s Randall Bal in the 50 and 100m backstroke races. Bal is currently ranked seventh and 23rd in the world in the 50 and 100m backstroke respectively.
On the women’s side, with three gold medals from the recent Commonwealth Games and numerous world records, Natalie du Toit needs no introductions. The 800m freestyle will be the race to watch for as Du Toit will be competing against SA’s Kathryn Meaklim and Spain’s Mireia Belmonte, who has the fastest seeding time of 8:35.50 and claimed three gold medals and a silver at the 2010 FINA World Short Course Championships in Dubai.
After a study break from swimming, 22-year-old Suzaan van Biljon will be making her return at the PE meeting in the 50, 100 and 200m breaststroke.
Double gold medalist from the 2008 Olympic Games, Germany’s Britta Steffen, will be returning to swimming following an injury. Competition will also be rife in the 50m freestyle, where Steffen posted the fastest seeding time of 23.73, ahead of Brazil’s Tatiana Barbosa (25.63) and Great Britain’s Francesca Halsall (26.00).
Twenty-seven-year-old Olympic sensation and world record holder Kirsty Coventry from Zimbabwe will be racing in the 200 and 400m freestyle, 200 and 400m individual medley as well as the 100 and 200m backstroke events. She will be up against SA’s Chanelle van Wyk and Fabiola Molina of Brazil in the 100m backstroke.
Chad Ho, Vanessa Mohr, George du Rand, Mandy Loots, Charl Crous, Wesley Gilchrist, William Diering and Garth Tune will also be among the SA team on the hunt for medals in Port Elizabeth. The event starts on Saturday 29 January with heats at 9.30am and finals starting at 5.30pm.