Big names at Swimming Champs currently under way in Gqeberha

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The first day of the South African National Swimming Championship was well attended at the Newton Park Pool in Gqeberha.

Just over 450 of South Africa’s top swimmers are taking part.

This five-day event is hosting the biggest names in the swimming fraternity, such as Roland Schoeman, Chad le Clos and Tatjana Schoenmaker.

The 42-year-old Schoeman is back in Gqeberha, for the first time since 2016.

He will be taking part in the 50 and 100 meter freestyle as well as the 100 meter butterfly.

All these athletes are competing to qualify for a spot in the World Swimming Championships that will take place in Japan in July this year.

Swimming SA high performance manager, Dean Price, is optimistic about the week ahead.

“And I think the exciting thing about these trials we have everyone we were hoping to be here and they have indeed showed up. So, it will be a jam-packed action qualifier and also our main headline is Roland Schoeman at the age of 42 years will be looking to bounce back. I mean this guy has earned his stripes in the industry winning world medals in championships and Olympics.”

This five-day event is hosting the biggest names in the swimming fraternity:

Tatjana Schoenmaker was one of the first in the water this morning, competing in the preliminary heats of the 200 meter freestyle.

She finished seventh overall, with a time of two minutes and four seconds.

Young swimmers attending the event say they are excited and inspired to be in the same space with the biggest names in swimming.

“Scary, you know when you see all these big girls standing in the marshaling tents and you’re like wow. But you know its an awesome experience to be racing against them and just like in the same pool area and just learning from them while watching them swim and things like that.”

“So, I am a freestyle sprinter and the rumour is Roland Schoeman is in town, so yeah we have fast boys this week and just looking to put up a good fight in the final.”

Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality has hosted this event six times in the past years.

“It’s a big honour to us to host such an event it is actually our sixth time now and this means quite a lot for our local economy,” says the municipality’s spokesperson Kupido Baron.

This competition will continue until Sunday.