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Schoeman and Co head for US

Ace swimmer Roland Schoeman leads a strong nine-man team to the 2010 Pan Pacific Championships in Irvine, California from 18-22 August. Schoeman is no stranger to this competition, having won a silver and bronze medal at the 2006 event.

The Pan Pacific Championships are held every four years, with the first being hosted in 1985 and were, until 2002, held every second year.

The idea behind these championships is to provide the member nations of Australia, Canada, Japan and the USA with a major international swimming competition between the FINA World Championships and the Olympic Games. Other nations, such as South Africa and Brazil, are also invited to participate in the event.

The championships are ideal for South Africa, as it means they will meet some of the strongest swimmers in the world from the USA, Australia, Brazil and Japan. The team sent by Swimming South Africa is by no means an inexperienced one. Roland Schoeman and Lyndon Ferns need no introduction after their incredible relay gold medal at the 2004 Olympic Games.

Roland Schoeman is currently ranked sixth in the world in the 50m freestyle and third in the 50m butterfly. He will also be competing in the 100m freestyle. Mark Randall who has also booked his spot on the team to the Commonwealth Games in India in October this year and is currently ranked 10th on the 2010 1500m freestyle world rankings, will be racing in the 400, 800 and 1500m freestyle events.

George Du Rand’s world short course record of 2009 in the 200m backstroke is the 12th best time ever set, while Jean Basson was fourth at the 2008 Olympic Games in the 200m freestyle and Neil Versfeld lies fifth on the Commonwealth rankings in the 200m breaststroke. Clearly an experienced team, yet one that also has an eye on the next generation of South African swimmers.

For Randall, Schoeman and Gideon Louw the Pan Pacific Championships will be an ideal test to see in just what kind of shape they are in before the Commonwealth Games.

Mark Randall ÔÇô 400, 800, 1500m freestyle
Neil Versfeld ÔÇô 50m fly, 50, 100 & 200m breaststroke
Roland Schoeman ÔÇô 50m butterfly, 50 & 100m freestyle
Gideon Louw ÔÇô 50 & 100m freestyle
George du Rand ÔÇô 50, 100 & 200m backstroke
Jean Basson ÔÇô 200 & 400m freestyle
Sebastien Rousseau ÔÇô 100 & 200m butterfly, 200 & 400m IM
Lyndon Ferns ÔÇô 50 & 100m freestyle, 50 & 100m butterfly
Graeme Moore ÔÇô 50 & 100m freestyle, 50m butterfly