It’s not often that mid-season Grand Prix meets in South Africa get a lot of global attention, but with Chad le Clos emerging as one of the biggest stars in the world, Karin Prinsloo making a late career-break toward stardom herself, and American budding star Michael Andrew spending three months in his parents’ homeland, things are heating up on the southern tip of Africa.
All three of the above-mentioned swimmers, along with several other of the country’s biggest stars (excluding Cameron van der Burgh), will race at the upcoming Stellenbosch Grand Prix meet from February 13th-15th in the Western Cape province.
Le Clos, who begins 2015 on a quest to defend his World Championships in the 100 and 200 flys in long course, won’t swim the longer of those two distances at this meet – despite being the defending Olympic champion. His lineup will include the 100 free, the 200 back, the 50 fly, and the 100 fly.
In two of those race, the 50 and 100 fly, 15-year old American Michael Andrew will be seeded 2nd behind him. Both swimmers typically swim well in-season, so don’t expect Andrew to upset his South African foe, but it should be a good educational experience for the young swimmer, going head-to-head with one of the world’s best.
Andrew is also entered in the 50/100/200 breast, 50/100 back, and 50/100 free.
On the women’s side, the headliner of the meet will be Karin Prinsloo, who had a breakout 2014. She’ll swim as the top seed in the 100/200/400 freestyles (with the 200 being her best event) and is also entered in the 100 and 200 backstrokes. Those backstroke races should be the premier events of the meet on the women’s side. Besides Prinsloo, they will feature South Africa’s best domestic backstroker, Jessica Ashley-Cooper, and a surprise entry from Barbora Zavadova of the Czech Republic – the 2012 European bronze medalist in the 400 IM.