African 100 metres butterfly record-holder Keri Shaw will be aiming to celebrate her return to big time swimming on a winning note, when she partakes in the Samsung Swimming Grand Prix series at the Deville swimming pool on Saturday, February 16.
Shaw, whose continental best stands at 59,17 seconds, missed much of the short-course swimming towards the end of last year season due to matric examinations, but is set to make her presence felt when she lines up in the 50 and 100 metres butterfly events alongside experienced rivals Amanda Loots and Lize-Mari Retief.
Shaw and Retief have both posted a 2007/2008 season best of 59,17 in the 100 metres butterfly, with Loots third on the rankings on 59,52. "Mandy, Lize-Mari and I have always had a highly competitive relationship in the pool, and I am really looking forward to posting some quality times," said Pretoria-based Shaw.
"It’s every swimmers dream to represent their country at the Beijing Olympics in August, and the introduction of the two-leg Samsung Swimming Grand Prix has created more competitive opportunities for our swim stars to strive to sharpen their rhythm, and to go up a gear in speed and pocket some prize money."
The trio will also line up for the 50 metres butterfly in which Retief heads the 2007/2008 times list with 26,66, followed by Loots (27,60) and Shaw (28,16). Other notable swimmers competing in the Delville Grand Prix event include Suzaan van Biljon (50 and 100 metres breaststroke), Melissa Corfe (50 and 100 metres freestyle, and 100 metres backstroke) and Jessica Pengelly (200 metres individual medley).
The swimming programme at the Delville pool on February 16 will take place from 11h00 to 13h00, with the afternoon session from 14h00 to 16h00. Swimming enthusiasts are encouraged to get to the venue early, to get the best seats to watch SA’s top Olympic athletes in action.
The second and final leg of the Samsung Swimming Grand Prix series will be held at the University of the Western Cape swimming pool on February 23-24, following which prize money will be paid out to the top eight female athletes, according to the points that they accumulated throughout the series, while the top female athlete on the points standings will collect R10 000.