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Swimmers aim for gold

August 6, 2013

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South Africa’s swimmers are highly motivated ahead of the IPC Swimming World Championships starting next Monday.

The ten-man squad leaves for Montreal on Wednesday where they hope to emulate their compatriots at the FINA championships, by also flying the SA flag high.

Team SA finished 13th on the medals table at the 2010 championships held in Eindhoven, in the Netherlands.

The swimmers went on to win 11 of South Africa’s 29 medals at the London Paralympics last year.

Among the winners at both events was Charl Bouwer.

The visually-impaired Bouwer, a veteran of three Paralympics campaigns, is enjoying his swimming.

“Swimming is such a big part of me at the moment, I just think why would I retire? I’m still young, I’m only twenty-three years old, so I’m definitely gonna go for Rio, I’m gonna train hard for that,” said Bouwer.

Another medal contender Hendri Herbst, who won bronze in the S11 100m freestyle at last year’s games, is positive about the team’s chances.

“Everyone is really excited, and I think we have quite a strong team,” he said.

“We have about five Paralympic medalists going, so I think we’ll be able to win a few medals at least.”

But the championships are not just about winning medals.

With Rio 2016 three years away, the team is already in the planning stages for Brazil.

“2015, that’s a major year…that’s when we have to really gain spots for Paralympic games,” said coach Dr Karin Hugo.

“So 2015 will be really important, that’s another world champs, then ya…it’s 2016, so this is all part of the build-up to Rio.”

The IPC Swimming World Championships start on the 12th August.

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