Hun­gary for suc­cess... Swim­ming SA send ex­pe­ri­ence and youth to Bu­dapest

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - OCKERT DE VIL­LIERS

IN a bid to ar­rest the de­cline of swim­ming in the coun­try, Swim­ming South Africa (SSA) have named a 16-mem­ber squad that in­cludes B-qual­i­fiers for the FINA World Swim­ming Cham­pi­onships in Bu­dapest, Hun­gary, next month.

Look­ing to re­sus­ci­tate fe­male swim­ming in par­tic­u­lar, SSA has in­cluded five women for the first time since the 2013 world cham­pi­onships.

The squad will once again be spear­headed by South Africa’s lifebuoys in Olympic gold medal­lists Chad le Clos and Cameron van der Burgh. Le Clos will be go­ing to the world cham­pi­onships look­ing for redemption af­ter he con­ceded his 200m but­ter­fly crown to Hun­gary’s Las­zlo Cseh.

He will also face a strong chal­lenge to his 100m but­ter­fly ti­tle with Olympic cham­pion Joseph School­ing talk­ing of break­ing the world record, held by Amer­i­can leg­end Michael Phelps.

Buoyed by his Olympic 200m freestyle sil­ver medal, Le Clos will also fancy his chances of earn­ing a podium fin­ish in this event.

Van der Burgh will be look­ing for to earn a medal for the sixth con­sec­u­tive time at the world cham­pi­onships.

Only eight swim­mers posted A-qual­i­fy­ing times at the South African Swim­ming Cham­pi­onships in Dur­ban in April.

Top fe­male swim­mer breast­stro­ker Tat­jana Schoen­maker was the only one among the seven who will not be in Hun­gary as she turns her at­ten­tion on the World Uni­ver­sity Games in Taipei, Tai­wan at the end of Au­gust.

The team has bal­looned from the five men-only squad that rep­re­sented the coun­try two years ago in Kazan, Rus­sia.

Le Clos, Van der Burgh, Myles Brown and Ayr­ton Sweeney will make their re­turn to the world cham­pi­onships.

Olympic 50m freestyle fi­nal­ist Brad Tandy, dis­tance ace Brent Szur­doki, and ris- ing star Zane Wad­dell along with Le Clos, Van der Burgh and Brown earned their places post­ing A-qual­i­fy­ing times.

The 19- year- old Wad­dell is one of the ex­cit­ing prospects in the team, post­ing an A-qual­i­fy­ing time in the 50m freestyle the claim­ing sil­ver medal at the South African Cham­pi­onships with a time of 22.49 sec­onds while also win­ning the 100m freestyle ti­tle with a B-qual­i­fy­ing time of 49.09secs, the eighth best time by a South African.

While the swim­mers who posted A-qual­i­fy­ing times will have their costs re­im­bursed for the global show­piece, the B-qual­i­fiers will be partly sub­sidised.

It is the first time since 2012 that SSA has ac­cepted B-qual­i­fy­ing times as the em­bat­tled fed­er­a­tion look to un­earth new tal­ent. SSA has also made an ef­fort to se­lect youth­ful fe­male swim­mers, with the 20-yearold Emma Che­lius the old­est among a hand­ful of teenagers.

Kazan gold medal­ist Chad Ho will be go­ing into the world cham­pi­onships as the de­fend­ing 5km cham­pion in the Open Wa­ter event, where he will once again be look­ing to add a 10km ti­tle to his name.

The women’s Open Wa­ter team will be spear­headed by Rio Olympian Michelle We­ber, who will be swim­ming the 5km dis­tance in Hun­gary.

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