Hope f or medal haul
SA swimming coach eyes more medals at Fina short c ourse event
JOHANNESBURG — National swimming coach Graham Hill was buoyant about South Africa’s medal chances at the Fina World Short Course Championships in Doha next week, expecting one of the country’s best medal hauls yet.
“I am quite excited about this competition. I think w e ar e going with a very strong team,” Hill said yesterday, ahead of the team’s departure for Qatar .
Swimming SA (SSA) has selected a strong squad, spearheaded by Olympic gold medallists Chad le Clos and Cameron v an der B urgh. South Africa’ s hopes for more individual medals will be pinned on middle distance ace Myles Brown, breaststroker Giulio Z orzi and Seb astien Rousseau.
“Obviously with Chad, C ameron, Giulio and Myles, they are all looking good t o bring us medals.
“I think our relays will be quite exciting as well. We have some great relays in the 4x50 m, the 4x100 m, the 4x200 m freestyle and the medley relay, so we have chances to bring home more medals.”
South Africa’s biggest medal haul at the biennial e vent w as in the 2008 Manchester edition, w here the t eam returned with six individual medals — a gold, silver and four bronze medals.
In 2012, Le Clos was SA’s lone medallist with a gold and silver in the 100m and 200 m but terfly r espectively.
However, Hill was confident that Le Clos would not be the onl y swimmer to return to the country with silverware in the b ag.
“Chad is in four events — the three butterfly e vents and the 200m fr eestyle. Cameron is in all thr ee br eaststroke events — the 50, 100, and the 200 m breaststroke — and Myles will be s wimming the 200, 400 and 1 500 m freestyle,” Hill said.
“It is quite exciting to have so many guys swimming for medals in so many events. Looking at just the three guys there, it is already 10 events where they will actually be swimming for individual medals.”
While the indi vidual swimmers instilled confidence of a good showing, Hill also had reason to be bullish about the r elay t eams’ chanc es.
The Glas gow C ommonwealth Games earlier this year saw the emergence of a new crop of young freestyle sprinters, who formed an integral part of the r elay success ther e.
Youngsters C alvin J ustus, Cla yton Jimmie andCaydon Muller — all under the age of 20 — earned the 4x100 m freestyle relay team a spot in the final where Muller, Schoeman, Leith Shankland and Le Clos won the silver medal.
The s wimming t eam also w on bronze medals in the 4x200 m fr eestyle and 4x100 m medley along with a silver in the 4x100 m freestyle relay.
“Rio is the big picture and it has always been m y plan t o g et the r elays competitive for Rio and not just to be part of the socalled t eam, as some people ha ve been sa ying,” Hill said.
“We want to go there to win medals and I’ve been putting things in place. We’ve seen the r esults at the C ommonwealth Games and I am sur e we are going to results at the World Short Course Championships now, and next year at the World Long Course Championships.”
The team for Doha also included fvie women s wimmers with rising s tars Tatjana Schoenmaker and 15y earold Erin G allagher looking t o c ontinue growing on the int ernational s tage.
— S apa.
T rudi Mar ee, R ene W arnes, Erin Gallagher, L ehesta K emp, T atjana Schoenmak er.
Sebas tien R ousseau, S tephen C oetzer, Charl Cr ous, Richar d Ellis, Cla yton Jimmie , Calvyn Justus, Myle s Br own, Chad le Clo s, Luk e P endock, L eith Shankland, Camer on v an der Bur gh, Giulio Z orzi.
Chad l e Clos will headline South Africa’s mission for medals at the Fina World Short Course Championships in Doha next week.