Van der Burgh the focus of PMB pool

2009-08-07 00:00

WORLD 50 metres breaststroke record holder, South Africa’s Cameron van der Burgh, will be the focus of attention on the opening day of the four-day Telkom SA Short Course Championships, which get under way at the GC Jolliffe Swimming Pool in Pietermaritzburg today.

But it won’t only be Van der Burg who is likely to catch the eye. The cream of South Africa’s swimmers, in top form after the recent Fina World Championships in Rome, will all have their own designs on world records, Africa’s best times as well as the national marks.

The top SA swimmers set a new world record, 20 African records and reached 10 finals in Rome.

Van der Burgh, who struck gold in Rome, gets off to an early start today with the heats kicking off at 9.30 am. In the 4 pm finals, he will be looking to build on the momentum earned at the World Championships in Italy.

He will be intent on improving his world mark of 26,67sec in the 50 m breaststroke and doing the business in the 100 m breaststroke.

Another big pointer to fast times in the GC Jolliffe pool is the short period between the world event in Italy and now these SA championships.

Three-time Olympian Mandy Loots will be another special one to watch today as she negotiates the butterfly events, while Port Elizabeth teenager Jessica Liss will be out for medals in the breaststroke events. Another to watch over the course of the four days is the versatile Kathryn Meaklim.

Other top swimmers in the pool will be 50 m backstroke bronze medallist Gerhard Zandberg and fellow SA stars Roland Schoeman and former local boy Darian Townsend, plus the competitive George du Rand, Lyndon Ferns and Graeme Moore, and the younger guys in Chad le Clos, Riaan Schoeman, Darren Murray and Charl van Zyl.

Further incentive for the swimmers is qualification for the SA leg of the Fina/Arena Swimming World Cup in Durban later this year, for which the national short course showcase is compulsory.

Adding colour to the event will be Olympic silver medallist Terence Parkin, who returns to the pool in preparation for the World Deaf Championships next month.

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