All eyes on Prinsloo

2014-07-24 00:00

KWAZULU-NATAL’S swimming sensation Chad le Clos gets his Commonwealth Games campaign under way tonight. The 2012 Olympic gold medallist swims in the heats of the 50 m butterfly, but all eyes tonight will be on 24-year-old Karin Prinsloo.

If Prinsloo had one wish in Glasgow today, it would be for a podium place in tonight’s 200 m freestyle.

The Pretoria swimmer recorded several fast times in local meetings in 2013, but she did not impress on the international stage.

That all changed in Perth this January, during the BHP Billiton gala, when Prinsloo returned with five medals.

Those wins gave her a welcome boost of self-confidence and in April she qualified for four events at the Commonwealth games — two in which she set new SA records.

After she improved on her own record in the 200 m freestyle last month, Prinsloo now ranks fourth in the Commonwealth and finally realised she has what it takes to achieve her dreams.

Today she will be swimming against the Australians Emma McKeon (1:55.68) and Bronte Barratt (1:56.61) as well as England’s 18-year-old Siobhan-Marie O’Connor (1:56.59) — all of whom swam the 200 m faster than Prinsloo’s 1:57.17.

But the South African confirmed last week that she is pumped and ready for her competitors.

“There is no doubt that I can stand on that podium,” she said.

Another South African who can expect to swim in tonight’s finals is Myles Brown.

The 22-year-old swimmer from Durban specialises in the 400 m freestyle. Seven Commonwealth swimmers are a bit faster than Brown over this distance, but they will do well not to underestimate their KZN competitor. He is hungry for a podium and could lift his game tonight.

Roland Schoeman and Le Clos start their respective campaigns in the 50-butterfly. Schoeman is currently the Commonwealth’s number one after he left Le Clos fat behind in their last ­national meet. Le Clos is, however, aiming for a podium place next to his veteran compatriot.

SA hockey, bowls ready

• On the hockey field, SA women start their medal hunt against Trinidad and Tobago today. The Proteas came fourth after a tense semi-final in the Commonwealth Games in Delhi four years ago.

The new team placed second in the Investec Cup tournament two weeks ago and arrived in Glasgow at their peak.

• On the bowling greens, SA’s Colleen Piketh will hope to improve their tally of three gold medals in Delhi last year.

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