KwaZulu-Natal swimming sensation Melissa Corfe will join freestyle sprinter Leizel Burger as women representing SA en route to FINA/Arena Swimming World Cup action in Singapore (October 27-28) and Sydney, Australia (November 2-3).
Following the action-packed opening leg of the FINA/Arena Swimming World Cup held at the Kings Park Aquatic Centre in Durban at the weekend, Swimming SA today announced the names of the swimmers who will compete at the remaining six leg legs of the FINA/Arena Swimming World Cup series, as well as the athletes who will take part in the three-gala Grand Prix series in Italy.
Last Friday in Durban, Corfe clocked 8 minutes 29,31 seconds in finishing second to fellow SA swimmer Kathryn Meaklim, whose winning time of 8:29,23 was a new African record. Corfe also took silver in the 400 metres freestyle in 4:08,26.
Individual medley swimmer Amanda Loots and 16-year-old Somerset West-based Jessica Pengelly will in action in Moscow (November 9-10), Stockholm, Sweden (November 13-14) and Berlin, Germany (November 17-18).
The highly-experienced Loots also showed fine form in the Kings Park Aquatic Centre swimming pool at the weekend, as she set a new continental best of 2:07,14 in the 200 metres butterfly and later set a new SA record time of 1:01,46 in the 100 metres individual medley.
Lize-Mari Retief posted a new African record time of 57,30 in the 100 metres butterfly in Durban on Friday, and she will be will join Channelle van Wyk, Keri Shaw and Meaklim for the Brazilan leg of the FINA/Arena Swimming World Cup, to be held in Belo Horizonte, from November 24-25.
Pretoria-based breaststroke star Suzaan van Biljon will head for Italy to compete in the Grand Prix gala events in Italy at Viareggio (November 22), Genoa (November 23) and Travagliato (November 25), and the Pretoria University hospitality management student (who won the 50, 100 and 200 metres breaststroke titles in Durban) is expected to lead the SA swimmers’ charge for fast times.
In wishing the swimmers the best of luck ahead of their international campaigns, Swimming SA President Jace Naidoo said: "Swimming SA is striving to allow our athletes to obtain as much competitive international swimming experience as possible ahead of next year’s Beijing Olympics."
Swimming SA’s head coach Dirk Lange said that the competition at the FINA/Arena Swimming World Cup legs is likely to be tougher than before, now that the rest of the swimming world has taken note of some of the fine swimming performances posted by the South African athletes.
"Swimming SA has tried to give as many of our elite athletes as possible to compete abroad, as well as keeping an eye on the young up and coming talent who will learn from these international competitions as they build towards the 2012 Olympics and beyond," said Lange.
With over US$1,074 000 (around R7,3 million) in prize money up for grabs in the seven-leg FINA/Arena Swimming World Cup events, the winners of the Finals will take home US$ 1500, with the second and third placed swimmers pocketing US$1000 and US$500 respectively.
According to the accumulative event points system put in place in this year’s FINA/Arena Swimming World Cup series, the top-placed female swimmer on the points list will earn US$100 000 each, with the second placed swimmers set to receive US$50 000 each. The third placed finishers on the points list will collect US$30 000 each.
The scoring system has been revised to include points scored based on the FINA rankings for the best times at each meet for the first 10 swimmers. Points will range from 25 points for first place down to 1 point for 10th place.
Moscow, Russia (9-10 November) Stockholm, Sweden (13-14 November) Berlin, Germany (17-18 November)