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Team SA for Eindhoven

A strong team of 20 South African athletes will do duty at the IPC Swimming World Championships in Eindhoven, Netherlands from 15-21 August.

The squad will be accompanied by manager Daphne Bird and coach Theo Verster as well as 10 other administrative personnel.

The event is the fifth time it is being contested and is a competition that has already been held by South Africa, Durban being afforded the honour in 2006.

Among the well-known faces in the line-up are Paralympics ace Natalie du Toit, recently in action at the World Open Water Championships in Canada, rising star Kevin Paul and shark-bite victim Achmat Hassiem.

A total of 659 athletes from 55 different countries will be competing at the championships, one of the largest of any previous Swimming World Championships.

Many of the athletes have previously competed at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games, 2009 IPC Swimming European Championships in Iceland, 2009 IPC Swimming World Championships Short Course in Brazil, and the 2010 BT Paralympic World Cup in Great Britain.

The meeting is vitally important for South Africa’s swimmers as these are the first stages of the long qualification process for the next Olympic Games in London, 2012.

The team will be managed by Swimming South Africa’s Daphne Bird, who was on the organising committee of the IPC World Championships in Durban four years ago.

“It’s a strong team with definite medal chances,” said Bird. “Our top hopes will rest with Natalie (Du Toit), Kevin (Paul) and Charl (Bouwer) as well as Shireen (Sapiro).

“It’s also the first time in many years that we have swimmers in the S14 category (intellectually challenged). In this regard Craig Groenewald is expected to do well. Other S14 swimmers are Challis Wright and Yvonne Smith. It’s Smith’s first major international competition.”

Other debutantes for this competition will be Hendri Herbst and Marike Naude.

The team’s participation in Eindhoven is due in no small part to the support of Paralympic sponsors Mercedes Benz, Nedbank, Pick n Pay, Sun International, Sasol, Vodacom and Telkom as well as the national Lottery and Department of Sport and Recreation.

The full South African team for Eindhoven: Sarah Shannon, Adri Visser, Beth Nothling, Chad Gifford, Hendrik van der Merwe, Sibusiso Mogale, Christiaan Du Plessis, Natalie Du Toit, Emily Gray, Achmat Hassiem, Kevin Paul, Shireen Sapiro, Charl Bouwer, Renette Bloem, Sean Clarke, Craig Groenewald, Hendri Herbst, Marike Naude, Challis Wright, Yvonne Smith. Management — Team Manager: Daphne Bird, Head Coach: Theo Verster, Coaches: Tadhg Slattery, Ivan Ball, Karin Hugo, Brian Elliot, Jan Wahl, Keenan Riffel, Physiotherapists: Kerry Austin, Sumeshen Moodley. Team Assistants: Queeneth Ndlovu, Eden Meyer