Hope f or medal haul

SA swimming coach eyes more medals at Fina short c ourse event

Weekend Witness - - Spor T - GRA­HAM HILL

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.

PHOTO: GETTY

Chad l e Clos will head­line South Africa’s mis­sion for medals at the Fina World Short Course Cham­pi­onships in Doha next week.

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