Stars aim for Shanghai | SASCOC - SASCOC

Stars aim for Shanghai

South Africa’s aquatics stars, both of the moment and of the future, are heading for Nelson Mandela Bay and fast times are on the cards, when Swimming SA hosts the annual Telkom SA National Senior and Youth Aquatic Championships in the friendly city from 6-18 April. This is the trial event for 14th FINA World Championships taking place in Shanghai, China from 19-23 July 2011.

The 13-day aquatic (swimming) festival that features synchronised swimming, open water swimming and long course pool swimming, kicks off with the water polo competition from 6-9 April at the Newton Park Swimming Pool and Alexander Road School, where CGA OJ Eagles will be out to defend their hard earned title since 2009. The swimming programme commences on the 11th April.

Top contenders, Chad Ho and Natalie du Toit will take to the water on 17-18 April at the Marina Martinique in Jeffrey’s Bay for the Open Water Swimming Championships. Both Ho and Du Toit have their sites firmly set on qualifying for the World Championships. Shanghai will be one of two FINA qualifiers for the 10km for London 2012.

Ho is no stranger to the world stage after winning the FINA 10km Marathon Swimming World Cup Series title in 2010, and Natalie du Toit, a winner of the 2009 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.

Both elite and rising stars such as Roland Schoeman, Darian Townsend, Mandy Loots, Vanessa Mohr, Gerhard Zandberg, George du Rand and Jean Basson will battle it out in pool at Newton Park, from 11-16 April to secure a place on the world champs team. The top 12 teams in the relay events at Shanghai will automatically qualify for a place in London 2012.

Not content with merely competing in the open water swim, Du Toit can also be seen in action in the long course pool in the 1500m freestyle where she will meet up with Wendy Trott in what promises to be a riveting duel.

Thabang Moeketsane will also be making his comeback at this year’s National Championships after his study sabbatical.

Cameron van der Burgh, gold medalist from the 2010 Commonwealth Games, is clearly the man to beat in the 50 and 100m breaststroke events. Van der Burgh will be up against Neil Versfeld in both the 50 and 100m breaststroke.

Amongst the new generation, Charl Crous and Dylan Bosch will also be out to secure their place for the FINA World Championships. Kathryn Meaklim and Jessica Pengelly are rapidly becoming formidable campaigners while Chanelle Van Wyk is also no stranger to this level of competition and will be very keen book a spot to Shanghai as it is the platform for the bigger stage of the 2012 Olympic Games.

Selectors will also keep a keen eye on Chad Le Clos, double gold medalist from the 2010 Commonwealth Games and the recent SA International Invitational Swimming Meet.

Swimming enthusiasts are in for six days of action-packed swimming and exciting performances where established stars will shine and new ones will rise. Heats will start at 9.30am while the finals will begin at 6pm daily.