Short Course: Olympic stars to be challenged in city pool

2012-08-15 00:00

OLYMPIC gold medallists Chad le Clos and Cameron van der Burgh will both take to the water for the first time after their recent success in London on the opening day of the South African Short Course Swimming Championships at the GC Jolliffe Pool in the city tomorrow.

Le Clos will have a busy day as he tackles the men’s 200 m freestyle and the 400 m individual medley on the first of the four-day tournament.

The 200 m freestyle will be a close race where the strength of Le Clos on the turns is likely to be the difference between him and local star Darian Townsend together with Jean Basson.

All three swimmers were members of the 4x200 m freestyle relay team that competed in the final in London.

Riaan Schoeman will be hoping to be in better form against Le Clos in the 400 m IM, but another young man who could feature will be the improving Michael Meyer, who was third to the two Olympians at the trials in April.

The men’s 200 m breaststroke should prove interesting, with 100 m gold medallist Van der Burgh in the field along with 2000 Olympic silver medallist, Terence Parkin, up against national record holder and 2008 Olympian Neil Versfeld.

This race is likely to change the lead a few times with these three talented breaststrokers challenging each other.

Another star to watch is four-time Olympian Roland Schoeman, who features in the 50 m butterfly.

Schoeman is still the best male swimmer from South Africa and has set world records in Pietermaritzburg already.

The 31-year-old finished sixth for an incredible performance in the 50 m freestyle in London in his fourth appearance at the Olympics — and holds the world record he set in the city two years ago at 20,30 seconds.

Among the women, Suzaan van Biljon will tackle the unpredictable 50 m breaststroke where the improving junior Tara Nicholas could challenge along with Kelly Gunnell.

Van Biljon did well in London to break the Africa and South African record in the 200 m breaststroke set in 1999 by Olympic double gold medallist Penny Heyns.

The women’s 400 m individual medley could develop into a close race, with Kathryn Meaklim likely to be challenged by her usual opposition in Jessica Pengelly and Olympian Wendy Trott.

The heats get under way at 9.30 am with the finals taking place from 4 pm daily.

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