SA trio set to challenge Swedish favourite for world record in Durban

2009-10-16 00:00

THE men’s 100-m freestyle will set the tone for the Fina World Cup swimming that gets under way at the Kings Park pool in Durban this morning.

Sweden’s world record holder, Stefan Nystrand, will be the man challenged by South African trio Lyndon Ferns, Roland Schoeman and Darian Townsend while Guilherme Roth-Santos (Brazil), Dominik Meichtry (Swiss) and Sergey Fesikov (Russia) will ensure an exciting final.

Ferns and Schoeman will meet again later in the 50-m butterfly where they need to overcome a challenge from Russia’s Evgeny Korotyshkin. Schoeman joins the men’s 50-m breaststroke where he could threaten for a place where the high-riding Cameron van der Burgh is the obvious favourite as the world record holder. Neil Versfeld and William Diering are expected to use the 50-m dash as a prelude to their clash in the 200-m breaststroke.

Townsend will hope to start strongly in the 100-m freestyle as a warm-up for the 100 m individual medley where he is aiming at closing in on that world record that is just under a second away.

With a heavy programme ahead for Kathryn Meaklim and Mandy Loots, some races will go their way and some will be under pressure with very little rest. Fortunately they miss the big international guns like Therese Alshammer (Sweden), Felicity Galvez (Australia), Sarah Sjostrom (Sweden), Inge Dekker and Hinkelien Schreuder (both Netherlands) who will show the South African spectators some top class competition.

The women’s 100-m butterfly brings them together with Loots which will provide one of the best races among the women together with the 50-m freestyle that follows. Jessica Hardy (USA) could feature here too after she tackles the 100-m breaststroke.

Other South Africans who will need to up their game will be Gerhard Zandberg, who will feature in the 100 m IM and 100-m backstroke, while Riaan Schoeman has a chance in the 400 m IM and 400-m freestyle on the opening day.

Up-and-coming Chad le Clos could rise to the occasion and prove a threatening challenger to Schoeman in the 400 m IM while Russian Maxim Ganikhin will also make his presence felt in 200-m butterfly.

Yet another star to keep an eye on will be crowd favourite Terence Parkin who is aiming at breaking all the deaf world records this weekend.

Parkin should feature in a few finals that include the 200-m breaststroke today — and it would be amazing if he could find the form to stand on the podium again after a three-year break.

The heats get under way at 9.30 am and the finals at 5.30 pm each day. A good crowd is expected due to a free gate entry.

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