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SSA confirms support

Swimming South African on Saturday insisted that the federation is giving our swimmers sufficient support in the build-up to next year’s London Olympics.

This after recent media reports indicating that swimmers are not getting the support from their National Federation.

In a statement issued on Saturday by Swimming South Africa the federation said that they and SASCOC (the country’s Olympic governing body) have supported the swimmers more over the last three years than previous cycles before the Olympic Games.

The statement went on to say: One needs to outline exactly what support has been given to a larger group of swimmers ÔÇô and this is particular to the recent World Championships where financial support was extensive.

In preparation for the championships in Shanghai, the swimming team selected had the opportunity of travelling to the annual Mare Nostrum tournament that started in Barcelona and went onto Canet in the Southern part of France in June. The team then spent a week training before moving onto the competitions in Italy before returning home. This preparation programme was done at a cost of R1 045 000.00 and no swimmer had to foot their own costs.

As part of the SSA high performance plan to ensure the swimmers are adequately prepared, they were then given the opportunity for a preparation camp in Singapore for a week’s training, to acclimatise and adjust to the time zone difference in July, before going onto Shanghai for the World Swimming Championships ┬áwhich in total cost another R1┬á200┬á000.00.

Support was provided to qualifying swimmers immediately after the 2008 Olympics. Budgets were requested from swimmers who had achieved the top 16 in the world and a number of swimmers and coaches received this benefit.

This support was reviewed at the end of 2010 in accordance with SASCOC’s policy against world rankings. Understandably, those who had retained the appropriate world rankings also retained the support from both Swimming South Africa and SASCOC.

The total support for able bodied swimming athletes from SASCOC for 2009 was R2 357 117 and in 2010 was R1 613 317. For 2011, SASCOC have already allocated an amount of R 4 117 220.00 for support for able bodied swimming athletes on the OPEX Programme.

With just under a year to London, Swimming South Africa and SASCOC have already invested in a targeted group of swimmers, following the recent FINA World Championships. A group will be heading for London at the end of the month where they will have an opportunity to experience what is in store for them next year.

ÔÇ£We have tried our best in difficult financial times to support all our swimmers who are performing,ÔÇØ said the President of SSA, Mr Jace Naidoo. ÔÇ£We do realise that while we hope that all those selected will perform, there are those who pick up injuries or get sick at the wrong time that affects their performances. I do feel the targeted group of swimmers are on track to do their best in London next year.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£While the medal count for swimming remained at three, it was encouraging to note the number of athletes that made semi- finals and finals. ┬áA large number of these athletes have progressed from our junior programmes.┬áLater in the year we will see a new group of youngsters competing at the FINA Junior Championships in Peru and the Commonwealth Youth Games in the Isle of Man. There are ongoing programmes to support the junior athletes as they progress up the various levels of the performance tiers,ÔÇØ commented SSA CEO, Mr Shaun Adriaanse.

ÔÇ£Sport is always a series of highs and disappointments, so it is important to have stability in our programs which are designed four years in advance,ÔÇØ said Performance Manager Dean Price. ÔÇ£but it is important to ┬ágive our swimmers who perform opportunities, such as our relay that performed so well at the FINA World Championships. We have responded immediately to add that group of swimmers in our support for the build up to 2012.ÔÇØ

Over the last few years we have seen a significant number of swimmers choosing to stay in South Africa.  The team that went to Shanghai was made up of approximately 56% swimmers that are based locally. This has been as a result of the number of new programmes that have been initiated to improve the quality of swimming in the country.

ÔÇ£The swimmers are fully aware of what they need to achieve, and when, to be supported,ÔÇØ concluded current National Swimming Head Coach, Graham Hill.


1 comments
swimmer
swimmer

Unfortunately, this money was spent whilst the swimmers were at the competitions that they refer to. They should have invested this in training programmes whilst in the South Africa. To date, South Africa is yet to produce black swimmers in the Olympic team. Even at the world champs, there was no black swimmer in the team.