Today South Africa has announced its entire competitive team set to travel to Gold Coast, Australia April 5th – 10th for the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Among the roster of elites are a total of 28 aquatic athletes, including 23 swimmers, 3 divers and 2 para swimmers.
Olympic medalists Cameron Van der Burgh and Chad Le Clos lead the men’s roster, which also includes notable Rio finalist Brad Tandy and World Cup competitors and Rio teammates Ayrton Sweeney and Calvyn Justus. Luan Grobbelaar represents the youngest male of the entire South African contingency, at just 15 years of age.
Between VDB and Le Clos in 2014, the pair collected 3 individual gold medals, with VDB winning the men’s 50m breaststroke and Le Clos taking gold in the men’s 100m and 200m butterfly. A 200m fly dual between Le Clos and Singaporean star Joseph Schooling was highly anticipated, however, Schooling has decided to opt out of the Games and focus instead on the NCAA Championships.
World Championships swimmer Tatjana Schoenmaker highlights the women’s line-up, which also includes a 15-year-old in national champion Dune Coetzee. Coetzee scored the only 200m butterfly time under the 2:20 mark at South Africa’s qualifying meet, the KZNA Provincial Championships.
As for Schoenmaker, her qualifying for Budapest last year represented the first time South Africa saw a female make an elite international roster since 2013. South Africa was void of females at both the 2015 FINA World Championships and the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, with Schoenmaker falling just .01 of qualifying for the latter competition.
‘As SASCOC we’re very excited to deliver this team for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games,’ says SASCOC President Gideon Sam. ‘Many hours of planning have gone into preparing this team.
‘Two years out from the Tokyo Olympics, these Games are a great platform to see where our sportsmen and women, both established and developing, are on the world stage.
‘You will see that it’s a great blend of experience and raw talent and I’m confident we’ll once again be right up there with the cream of Commonwealth countries and looking to improve on our seventh place on the medals table in Glasgow four years ago.
‘I urge every athlete to go to Australia and be the very best athlete they can be and fly the rainbow nation’s flag high.’
South African rosters for 2018 Commonwealth Games:
Women: Erin Gallagher, Tatjana Schoenmaker, Dune Coetzee, Kate Beavon, Kaylene Corbett, Emily Visagie, Marlies Ross, Nathania van Niekerk, Kristin Bellingan, Mariella Venter and Emma Chelius
Men: Ayrton Sweeney, Cameron van der Burgh, Chad le Clos, Jarryd Baxter, Brad Tandy, Brent Szurdoki, Martin Binedell, Ryan Coetzee, Eben Vorster, Luan Grobbelaar, Calvyn Justus and Michael Houlie.
Para swimming: Christian Sadie, Kaleb van der Merwe
Diving: Nicole Gillis, Micaela Bouter, Julia Vincent