Trotting towards Beijing

2008-08-08 14:45

Cape Town - At the Athens Olympics in 2004, South Africa fielded a swimming team with a total of zero women. This year in Beijing, there will be nine. Wendy Trott is one of them.

She just finished matric last year and like many school-leavers is taking some time out to go travelling. But unlike most matriculants she'll be representing South Africa in Beijing against the top female swimmers in the world.

Along with Jenna Dreyer, Kathryn Meaklim, Melissa Corfe, Jessica Pengelly, Lize-Mari Retief, Amanda Loots, Suzaan van Biljon and Natalie du Toit, Trott will hopefully be out to show that South African Women's swimming is making a comeback.

Trott's discipline is 800m freestyle. At the beginning of June 2008 she was ranked 23rd in the world. On June 7 this year, at the Sette Colli swim-meet in Rome, she lowered her personal best to 8:28.77, putting her up to 12th. Then, on June 10, she cracked the top 10 in the Mare Nostrum series in Barcelona, stopping the clock at 8:26.88.

Trott is now ranked No 9 in the world. The current record is held by Kate Ziegler of the USA at 8.08.00.

Trott is originally from Cape Town and attended Springfield Convent, where a distinct lack of male distraction allowed her to concentrate fully on her swimming. She has been training in South Africa up till now, but after the Beijing Games, Trott will be following the likes of Ryk Neethling, Lyndon Ferns and Roland Schoeman over to the USA.

She has joined up with the University of Georgia and, as sad as it may be, this is likely to be the best decision for her considering literally every South African swimmer who has won Olympic gold since 1992, beginning with Penny Heyns, has been based in the United States.

We wait eagerly to see what Trott can show us in the pool at Beijing, which will be exciting just by virtue of having a South African woman in the water. But judging by her rapid rise through South African swimming ranks, SA Sport believes that with the amount of exposure to international competition she will get swimming in the US, along with the rigorous training programmes she will no doubt be involved in, Trott will be a talent to really keep an eye on for London in 2012.

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