The suit that’s making waves

2008-03-31 00:00

The Speedo LZR racing suit is certain to play some sort of controversial role on the opening day of the Telkom South African Swimming Championships that get under way at the Kings Park Pool in Durban this morning.

Swimming South Africa will be holding a press conference at Kings Park at 4 pm this afternoon to make their statement on the suit.

However, irrespective of the outcome, Canada and Great Britain were the first to ban the use of the suits for their Olympic trials, and Italy has followed with the same decision — their reason was the availability of the suits so that all swimmers had access to them, which is not the case.

“I tried the suit on recently and it definitely made a difference over a 50 metres freestyle,” said World Champion Roland Schoeman yesterday. “To be fair on the swimmers, I really think the suit should not be allowed until it is available for everyone if they wanted to get one.”

Ryk Neethling had shown concern last week already. “I think it can make a difference of around 0,4 sec over the 100 metres freestyle, so unless the suit is available for everyone, it should be banned for this meet just like Canada, Great Britain and now Italy have done.”

“Our races are going to be close, I really feel the suit must be available to all of us if it is allowed. We all need to have the same chance of making the team,” said veteran Mandy Loots.

Whatever the decision, there will be plenty of talk about the seamless suit that makes the swimmer look more like a fish.

City sprint star Darian Townsend missed his flight from the U.S. on Sunday night due to a security delay in Seattle, after producing some outstanding performances at the NCAA Championships.

Townsend had to scratch the 50 metres freestyle, but will have to start his Olympic bid in the 200 metres freestyle within 24 hours of arriving in Durban today.

The events on today’s programme starting at 9.30am are (swimmers to watch are in brackets):

Women 50m Freestyle (Lize-Mari Retief, Trudi Maree, Natalie Elphick, Leizl Burger, Elzanne Werth) and Men 50m freestyle (Roland Schoeman, Gerhard Zandberg, Lyndon Ferns, Warren Grobbelaar, Gideon Louw, Ryk Neethling, Shaun Harris)

Women 400m freestyle (Melissa Corfe and Wendy Trott) and men 400m freestyle (Jean Basson, Riaan Schoeman, Mark Randall, John Ellis, Jay-Cee Thompson, Heerden Herman, Morne Boshoff)

Women 100m Breaststroke (Suzaan van Biljon, Jessica Liss - 12-years-old!) and Mens 100m Breaststroke (Cameron van der Burgh, Thabang Moeketsane, William Diering)

Women 200m butterfly (Mandy Loots, Keri Shaw, Kathryn Meaklim) and Mens 200m Butterfly (Sebastien Roussouw, Rousseau Kluver, James Faure)

Women 200m Backstroke (Melissa Corfe and Jessica Pengelly) and Men 200m Backstroke (George du Rand, Graeme Moore, Charl Van Zyl).

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