There will be a set of time-trial races this weekend in a bid to land places in the national men’s 4 x 100 metres individual medley line up, that will take part at the swimming leg of the FINA World Championships in Rome, Italy, which start on Sunday.
While it is fairly certain that Roland Schoeman, Lyndon Ferns, Darian┬áTownsend and Graeme Moore will represent SA in the 4 x 100 metres freestyle relay, the national team management are weighing up their options as far as the 4 x 100 metres individual medley foursome is concerned.
With either Lyndon Ferns or Roland Schoeman (100 metres freestyle) set to join one of Ferns or Townsend (100 metres butterfly) in the quartet of┬áswimmers, the time trial session will give the national team coaches an idea of the current form of US-breaststroke swimmer Neil Versfeld and young Tshwane backstroke swimmer Darren Murray.
Versfeld, who will represent SA in the 200 metres breaststroke at the world showpiece, will look to show that he can turn on the speed in the 100 metres breaststroke time trial, in order to get selected. The 4 x 100 metres individual medley relay heats will be held on August 1, with the final to be held 24 hours later, being the final event of the world championships.
Outside of Versfeld, the coaches will keep a close eye on times clocked in┬áindividual competition races by other breaststroke stars in Cameron van der Burgh and Thabang Moeketsane.
Murray, better known as a 200 metres backstroke swimmer, will be looking to seize the time trial opportunity with both hands, with other options for relay action in the backstroke leg being Charl van Zyl and George du Rand.
Meanwhile, Lyndon Ferns has carried his impressive form shown in setting a new SA record in the 100 metres butterfly (51.6 secs) with him to Rome and will play a key role in the relay medal-seeking attempts.
“We haven’t decided on the order of swimming for the 4 x 100 metres relay team yet, but from the quartet that finished eighth in the Olympic final in Beijing last year, its just one change with Moore in for Ryk Neethling,” said national coach Dean Price.
“The mood in the SA camp is very positive and the swimmers can’t wait for the competition to begin.”
On the water polo front, the SA men’s team went down 15-5 to Hungary in a Group A fixture. They lost all three of their Group A matches, 14-4 to Germany, 12-1 to Canada and the defeat to Hungary. In total they scored 10 goals and leaked 41.