Olympic selection a triumph for wisdom
By Gary Lemke
Swimming South Africa (SSA) selectors, take a bow. All of you. In presenting 13 names to Nocsa for approval for the Sydney Olympics, they rewarded both performances at the Telkom Nationals, which ended at King's Park on Sunday, and showed healthy vision.
Eight men and five women were named to represent South Africa at Mare Nostrum 2000 (a Grand Prix meet in Europe) and then go on to Sydney, while another five swimmers were given the carrot of being able to travel with them and, providing they meet the Fina 'A' qualifying time, they would be considered for the Olympics as well.
SSA resisted the temptation to include Raazik Nordien as a development swimmer at Sydney, but he is one of the five who will travel to Mare Nostrum.
Nordien, a 17-year-old from Western Province, had become the first swimmer of colour to win a senior medal at the Nationals, but missed out on an Olympic qualifying time.
However, poolside word banter on Sunday was that the teenager was too good a prospect to spoil by denting his confidence at an important event as the Games.
All 12 swimmers who produced Olympic qualifying times at King's Park were named in the provisional squad, along with backstroker Simon Thirsk, who didn't but who could form an integral part of any 400m medley relay team South African may enter in Sydney.
Penny Heyns, Mandy Loots, Helene Muller, Sarah Poewe and Charlene Wittstock can all start making their travel plans for the Olympic fortnight (September 15 to October 1), as can Brendon Dedekind, Ryk Neethling, Nick Folker, Terence Parkin, Brett Petersen, Roland Schoeman, Simon Thirsk and Theo Verster, who was a hugely relieved man after qualifying in a specially arranged 100m butterfly time trial on Sunday.
In addition to the names of the swimmers put forward for Olympic consideration - Nocsa's executive have the final say - two divers were nominated: Jane Woodard and Tandi Gerrard, both of whom will be requested to compete in selected Grand Prix meets.
Apart from those earmarked - barring accidents, injury or temporary insanity by the Nocsa panel, they will go to the Games - Renate du Plessis, Julia Russell, Ryan Kelly, Raazik Nordien and Greg Owen are still not completely out of the picture and have the incentive to qualify in Europe.
South Africa's men's 4x100m freestyle side is in with a real shout of a medal in Sydney, where Dedekind, Folker, Neethling and Schoeman will do all the hard work, while a 400m medley relay squad has been pencilled in for both the men and women.
In total, realistically, swimming can expect a healthy haul in Sydney. All of Neethling (200, 400 and 1 500m freestyle), Dedekind and Schoeman (50m freestyle), Parkin (200m breaststroke), Heyns and Poewe (100, 200m breaststroke) will have high expectations, which could up the tally to as high as 10.
Petersen, who lowered the men's 100m breaststroke record at Kings Park is another who can produce the goods on his day.
Parkin was officially named male swimmer of the meeting and Muller - who broke six South African freestyle records - the women's.
Wayne Riddin has predictably been named head coach for Sydney, with Gideon Sam travelling as the team manager.
All the swim medal winners
4 - (4 gold) Ryk Neethling (100, 200, 400, 1500m free)
4 - (3 gold, 1 silver) Terence Parkin (200m IM, 400IM, 200m breaststroke, 100m breaststroke)
2 - (2 silver) Mark Jollands (200, 400m free)
2 - (2 silver) Roland Schoeman (50, 100m freestyle)
2 - (1 silver, 1 bronze) Greg Owen (200m breaststroke, 100m breaststroke)
2 - (2 gold) Simon Thirsk (100, 200m back)
2 - (1 gold, 1 silver) Theo Verster (200m butterfly, 200m IM)
2 - (1 silver, 1 bronze) Adrian Bosch (400m IM, 200 IM)
2 - (2 bronze) Nick Folker (50, 100m freestyle)
1 - (1 gold) Brendon Dedekind (50m free)
1 - (1 gold) Brett Petersen (100m breaststroke)
1 - (1 gold) Ryan Kelly (100m butterfly)
1 - (1 silver) Greg Main-Baillie (100m back)
1 - (1 silver) Graham MacFarlane (200m fly)
1 - (1 silver) Derek Craven (100m fly)
1 - (1 silver) Dennis Siringhaus (1500m freestyle)
1 - (1 bronze) George du Rand (200m back)
1 - (1 bronze) Gareth McGee (200m back)
1 - (1 bronze) Brett Rogers (400m IM)
1 - (1 bronze) Henk Markgraaff (400m freestyle)
1 - (1 bronze) James Willcox (200m freestyle)
1 - (1 bronze) Gerhard Zandberg (100m back)
1 - (1 bronze) Raazik Nordien (200m butterfly)
1 - (1 bronze) Corne Prozesky (200m breast)
1 - (1 bronze) Henk Markgraaff (1500m freestyle)
3 - (3 gold) Helene Muller (50, 100m, 200 freestyle)
3 - (2 gold, 1 bronze) Mandy Loots (100, 200m butterfly, 200m backstroke)
3 - (2 gold, 1 bronze) Denali Knapp (100m, 200m backstroke, 50m freestyle)
3 - (1 gold, 1 silver) Kim van Selm (400, 800m freestyle, 200m freestyle)
3 - (1 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze) Natalie du Toit (400m ind medley, 200m ind medley, 800m freestyle)
3 - (2 silver, 1 bronze) Charlene Wittstock (100, 200m backstroke, 100m freestyle)
3 - (1 silver, 2 bronze) Julia Russell (100m butterfly, 100, 200m breaststroke)
2 - (2 gold) Penny Heyns (100, 200m breast)
2 - (1 gold, 1 bronze) Kirsty Coventry (200m ind medley, 100m backstroke)
2 - (2 silver) Sarah Poewe (100, 200m breast)
2 - (2 silver) Stacey Bowley (50, 100m freestyle)
2 - (1 silver, 1 bronze) Renate du Plessis (200m butterfly, 100m butterfly)
2 - (1 silver, 1 bronze) Kirsten van Heerden (400m free, 200m free)
2 - (2 bronze) Candice Crafford (200m ind medley, 200m butterfly)
1 - (1 silver) Candice Little (400m ind medley)
1 - (1 bronze) Marizanne Grundlingh (400m IM)
1 - (1 bronze) Desiree Martin (400m freestyle)
South African records
6 - Helene Muller (women's 50m freestyle 2,94, 100m freestyle relay, 55,96; 100m freestyle semis 55,94; final 55,82; 200m freestyle semis, 2:00,99, final 2:00,35)
3 - Terence Parkin (men's 400m ind medley 4:19,310; 200m breaststroke 2:13,57, 200m IM 2:01,95)
1 - Mandy Loots (women's 100m fly 1:00,71)
1 - Brett Petersen (men's 100m breast 1:01,62)
1 - Roland Schoeman (men's 100m freestyle, semis, 49,91)
1 - Ryk Neethling (men's 100m free, final, 49,71)
1 - KwaZulu-Natal 'A' (women's 4x200m freestyle, 8:31,71)
All-Africa RecordD (No SA Rec)
2 - Kim van Selm (women's 400, 800m free, 4:17.46, 8:51,57)
Olympic qualifying times
6 - Penny Heyns (women's 100m breaststroke, heats 1:07,84, semis 1:07,77, final 1:07,67; 200m breaststroke, heats 2:28,57, semis 2:27,01, final 2:26,14)
6 - Ryk Neethling (men's 100m freestyle, semis 49,93, final 49,71; 200m freestyle, semis 1:49,06, final 1:48,81; 400m freestyle, final, 3:48,74, 1500m 15:15,27)
6 - Helene Muller (women's 50m freestyle, 25,94; 100m freestyle relay, 55,96; 100m freestyle, semis, 55,94, final 55,82; 200m freestyle semis, 2:00,99, final, 2:00,53)
5 - Terence Parkin (men's 100m breast, 1:02,41; 200m breaststroke, semis 2:14,19, final 2:13,57; 200m IM 2:01,95; 400m IM 4:19,31)
5 - Roland Schoeman (men's 100m freestyle, semis, 49,91, final 49,79, 50m free heats, 22,19; semis 22,32, final 22,46)
2 - Brett Petersen (men's 100m breaststroke, semis 1:01,62, final 1:02,15)
2 - Mandy Loots (women's 100m butterfly, semis, 1:00,71; 200m butterfly, final, 2:13,01)
2 - Sarah Poewe (women's 100m breaststroke, final 1:08,62; 200m breast 2:27,58)
2 - Brendon Dedekind (men's 50m freestyle, semis 22,12, final 22,13)
1 - Charlene Wittstock (women's 100m backstroke, 1:02,93)
1 - Nick Folker (50m freestyle, 22,63)