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Olympic stars in action at swimming nationals

Olympic gold medallists Cameron van der Burgh and Chad Le Clos head the bill as the country’s top swimmers splash down in Port Elizabeth today for the start of the SA Nationals.

They’ll race against the clock to post qualification time standards, during the Championships, which doubling as official World Championships Trials until Saturday.

This year’s event is a make or break for swimmers as they will be striving to secure a place in the final team that will be selected to represent SA in the 15th FINA World Championships in Barcelona from 19 July to 4 August. A whole range of younger swimmers will also be looking to make their mark ahead of the long-term goal of the Rio 2016 Olympics.

Olympic gold medalists Le Clos, who recently celebrated his 21st birthday and Van der Burgh will the highlights of the competition. Le Clos races in the 50, 100 and 200m butterfly and 100 and 200m freestyle, while Van der Burgh will compete in the 50 and 100m breaststroke events.

Other contenders include the likes of veteran Olympian Roland Schoeman, 32, who will be racing in the 50 and 100m freestyle as well as the 50m butterfly. Rising star Myles Brown and Mark Randall will tackle the 400m freestyle, with Darren Murray taking on the backstroke events.

This year’s competition will also see a return for Gerhard Zandberg, who will compete in the 50 and 100m backstroke.

On the women’s side, youngsters Vanessa Mohr will swim the 50 and 100m butterfly as well as the 50 and 100m freestyle, while 16-year-old Michelle Webber takes to the water in the 1500m freestyle.

Olympian Suzaan van Biljon will swim her favorite 50, 100 and 200m breaststrokes, while backstroke specialist and fellow 2012 Games team member Karin Prinsloo will race in the 50, 100 and 200m events.

Heats start daily at 9.30am while the finals will begin at 6pm.

World Championships qualifying times

50m freestyle: 22.33 (men) 25.34 (women)
100m freestyle: 48.93 ÔÇô 54.86
200m freestyle: 1:48.42 ÔÇô 1:58.74
400m freestyle: 3:49.55 ÔÇô 4:09.81
1500m freestyle: 15:14.38 ÔÇô 16:26.36
100m backstroke: 54.43 ÔÇô 1:01.39
200m backstroke: 1:58.48 ÔÇô┬á2:11.09
100m breaststroke: 1:00.86 ÔÇô 1:08.63
200m breaststroke: 2:12.78 ÔÇô 2:27.88
100m butterfly: 52.57 ÔÇô┬á58.89
200m butterfly: 1:57.03 ÔÇô┬á2:09.38
200m Individual medley: 1:59.99 ÔÇô┬á2:14.97
400m Individual medley: 4:18.99 ÔÇô┬á4:44.53


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