Olympics 2012

SA relay team to miss final

2012-08-03 13:09
Chad le Clos (Gallo)
London - South Africa's 4x100 metres medley swimming team bombed out in the heats at the London Olympic Games on Friday.

The quartet of Charl Crous, Cameron van der Burgh, Chad le Clos and Leith Shankland finished seventh in their heat in a time of three minutes, 35.23 (3:35.23).

Only Le Clos and Roland Schoeman still remain in the acquatic events, competing in the finals of their respective strokes, later on Friday evening.

Le Clos will be bidding for his second medal at the Games, this time in the 100m butterfly, while Schoeman will follow half an hour later in the 50m freestyle final.

Van der Burgh said he and Le Clos' achievements at the Games were proof that South African swimming had a massive untapped potential.

"We have a lot of young guys [on the fringe] at the moment," Van der Burgh said.

"They call me the old man of the team.

"It is great for me to be in a mentorship role because I remember my first Olympic Games, where I didn't do so well -- and look at me four years later.

"There is still long way to go for these guys but we'll obviously work a lot together over the next four years."

He called on big companies to throw their weight behind South African swimming, through sponsorships.

"Swimming needs a lot of corporate sponsors and we need more swimming to be screened on TV," he said.

"If we can organise competitions on a regular basis -- maybe twice a year -- where we can get the likes of Absa and SAB to sponsor with big prize money, then we can invite swimmers from around the world.

"Get us at our best and make it a showcase."

Van der Burgh said the swimming team finally had the opportunity to celebrate their achievements together after the evening finals.

"We can finally all go out and celebrate together," he said.

"We've been working so hard, for four years, and we are such a tight knit group.

"So after tonight's finals, we can all go out and have a really good time together."

The 24-year-old said the Olympics had been a huge success for South African swimming and an experience he would always cherish.

"I think it's been a hell of a meet -- from winning gold to sharing the glory with another guy and the rowers...it's just been so phenomenal," he said.

"We're really surpassing everyone's expectations."

Meanwhile, distance swimmer Heerden Herman failed to go past the heats of the men's 1500m freestyle.

Herman said he had requested to pull out of the race because he was suffering from fatigue but the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee would not allow him to do so.

Nevertheless, he said he was still quite pleased with his performance, finishing eighth in a time of 8:52.29.

Trudi Maree, swimming in the women's 50m freestyle heats, was also unable to progress to the semi-finals.

She finished last in her heat, in a time of 25.78.

Read more on:    olympics 2012  |  swimming

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