Swimmers out to prove a point

Swimming South Africa
Swimming South Africa

Johannesburg - With only two swimmers included on the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee's (SASCOC) funding programme, Swimming SA (SSA) is out to prove a point at next week's Fina World Short Course Championships in Doha.

"We are going there to deliver, we are not getting any support from anyone, so we are going for it," said SSA's high performance manager Dean Price on Tuesday ahead of the championship from December 3 to 7.

"If Sascoc only wants to select two swimmers -- this country has always produced more than two swimmers -- we don't support that decision and we will show them."

Despite delivering the goods at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow earlier this year, Olympic gold medallists Chad le Clos and Cameron van der Burgh were the only swimmers to make it onto SASCOC's Operation Excellence (Opex).

Opex is the premier funding programme which identifies and supports prospective Olympic and Paralympic medallists by means of financial assistance, and through the payment of medical and training expenses.

The swimming team contributed a dozen of the 26 medals earned by South Africa, with Chad le Clos amassing a record equalling seven.

While the usual suspects such as Le Clos, Van der Burgh and Roland Schoeman produced individual medals, the relays proved the most encouraging.

Youngsters Calvin Justus, Clayton Jimmie and Caydon Muller earned the 4x100m freestyle relay team a spot in the final where Muller, Schoeman, Leith Shankland and Le Clos won the silver medal.

The Commonwealth Games indicated that South Africa could be building formidable relay teams with the swimming team winning bronze medals in the 4x200m freestyle and 4x100m medley along with the silver in the 4x100m freestyle relay.

"The world championship is at a higher level than the Commonwealth Games but we are doing the job, we always have done, and we always will," Price said.

"We are going into the championships with confidence, and the kids are not just happy to have a place in the team, they want to do well.

"All those guys are going faster, they are not going slower, and some of the swimmers did really well at the World Cup series."

Price said judging by the recent World Cup series where Le Clos won a whopping 27 gold medals and where Myles Brown and Schoeman also performed, the team would go into the championship brimming with confidence.

"It is about giving people opportunities, if you don't then you will fall short," he said.

"That is where we fall short in this country thinking that people can step out of nowhere and become Olympic champions."

Le Clos was South Africa's only medallist at the 2012 World Short Course Championships in Istanbul where he won the gold medal in the 100m butterfly and the silver in the 50m butterfly.

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