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SA stars go global

Cameron van der Burgh leads a host of South African swimmers looking to shine at the lucrative FINA/Arena/Arena Swimming World Cup series over the next three weeks.

The double world breaststroke record-holder finished top of the points rankings in last year’s FINA/Arena Swimming World Cup series to pocket the US$100┬á000 main prize.

ÔÇ£Last year, I went into the FINA/Arena Swimming World Cup series under no pressure after not doing that well at the Beijing Olympics. Having set the 50 metres and 100m world records during the series last year, naturally there is a form of pressure and expectation that comes with the performances.ÔÇØ

ÔÇ£I am happy with my form at the moment. If one takes into account that during last year’s leg of the FINA/Arena Swimming World Cup held in Durban, I clocked 26.6sec in the 50m breaststroke and finished with a world record of 25.9 in Berlin. Twelve days back in the opening leg of this year’s series in Durban, I already clocked 25.94, so I see it as a form of progression as far as my swim career is concerned.ÔÇØ

Among the other SA swimmers who will be participating in the FINA/Arena Swimming World Cup legs in Moscow, Russia (November 6-7), Stockholm, Sweden (November 10-11), Berlin, Germany November 14-15) and Singapore (November 21-22), include 50m freestyle world record-holder Roland Schoeman and Durbanite Kathryn Meaklim (who finished third overall on the women’s points rankings in last year’s series).

Others set for action in Europe include butterfly and freestyle stars Lyndon Ferns, Darian Townsend (200 metres freestyle winner in Durban) and Westville Boys High swim sensation Chad le Clos, who took gold in the 200 metres butterfly and 400 metres individual medley in the opening leg of the series in Durban.

Swimming SA CEO Shaun Adriaanse remarked: ÔÇ£If the opening leg of the FINA/Arena Swimming World Cup in Durban is a sign of things to come, then I am sure that our swimmers will bring further pride to our country when they compete in the European legs of the series. This event is the perfect platform for our experienced and younger swimmers to finish off their 2009 swim campaign in the best way possible.ÔÇØ

And SASCOC president Gideon Sam also lent his support to our swimmers. “We have seen from our performances at the FINA World Cup in Rome that the talent is there and we will support and encourage that talent all the way to the 2012 Olympics and beyond. Our swimmers performance at the recently completed African Junior championships in Mauritius, where we topped the medal standings, proves that we are on the right track.”

SA swimmers to compete in the FINA/Arena Swimming World Cup legs in Russia, Stockholm and Berlin:

Darian Townsend                                             100m & 200m individual medley, 100m & 200m freestyle
Chad le Clos                                                        200m & 400m individual medley, 100m & 200m butterfly
Lyndon Ferns                                                     50m & 100m freestyle, 50m & 100m butterfly
George du Rand                                               50m, 100m & 200m backstroke
Cameron van der Burgh                                50m & 100m breaststroke
Gerhard Zandberg                                           50m & 100m backstroke (swimming in Stockholm 100m individual medley & Berlin 50m freestyle)
Garth Tune                                                         50m & 100m backstroke, 50m & 100m butterfly
Neil Versfeld                                                      50m, 100m & 200m breaststroke
Roland Schoeman                                            50m & 100m freestyle, 50m breaststroke, 50m butterfly

Kathryn Meaklim                                             800m freestyle, 200m & 400m individual medley, 200m breaststroke, 200m butterfly
Chanelle van Wyk                                            50m & 100m backstroke, 50m freestyle, 100m individual medley
Mandy Loots                                                      50m, 100m & 200m butterfly, 100m & 200m individual medley, 200m backstroke