Earlier this week, South Africa sent out a letter to 18 swimmers who had registered their interest for the 2014 Pan Pac Championships, and not among those 18 were some of the country’s biggest stars. That includes Chad le Clos, the double 100/200 fly World Champion, who early in the year seemed like he planned for a trip to the Gold Coast, but as of late has waned in that commitment. The country’s other 2012 Olympic champion, the 100 breaststroke world record holder Cameron van der Burgh, also left his name off of the list for Pan Pacs.
Also absent is the country’s veteran sprinter Roland Schoeman, as well as rising female swimmer Karin Prinsloo, who is having a career-year and could have hunted for a medal.
There are still a few well-known names on the list. That includes middle-distance freestyler Michael Meyer, who is a IM’er and 200 butterflier at Arizona in the United States; Gulio Zorzi, who won a medal in the 50 breaststroke at the 2013 World Championships; and Franko Jonker, who had a solid freshman season in the U.S. swimming for Texas A&M University.
The roster is a sign that the Commonwealth Games this year is the country’s biggest swimming priority, which is understandable given the relative publicity for a Commonwealth Games medal as compared to a Pan Pacs medal.
As if the rosters weren’t enough, though, an even more prominent sign is the funding structure for the meet. The organization made big news earlier this month when they told U.S.-based swimmers that they would have to purchase their own flights for the Commonwealth Games. Though they eventually promised to reimburse all of those costs, we have spoken to several athletes who have said that they are still awaiting reimbursement.
Now, SSA has sent the 18 interested team members a letter to inform them that the Pan Pac Championships is a fully self-funded trip, with an estimated cost of 30,000 Rand, plus visas. In U.S./Australian dollars, that will run the total to somewhere in the neighborhood of $3,500 per athlete. That includes informing athletes that they will have to reimburse SSA for lodging accommodations and that athletes will have to apply for their own Australian visas.
Unlike with the Commonwealth Games, this letter, signed by CEO Shaun Adriaanse, gave no indication that relief was possible. We have reached out to Swimming South Africa to ask if there were any potential contributions on the horizon, but South Africa continues to decline to respond.
In 2010, South Africa won two medals at the Pan Pac Championships in Irvine, California: a bronze in the 50 fly from Schoeman, and a bronze in the 400 free relay. In 2014, as many as 10 looked like a possibility, but in the listed roster of 18 participants, two medals look like a reasonable target again.
Para Pan Pacs qualifiers have been subjected to the same R30,000 cost requirement.
The full list of interested and eligible 2014 Pan Pacs swimmers is below.
1. Ricky Ellis CGA
2. Charl Crous KZN
3. Danie Marais KZN
4. Michael Meyer CGA
5. Ayrton Sweeny KZN
6. Giulio Zorzi NTS
7. Jared Pike CGA
8. Ryan Coetzee NTS
9. Troyden Prinsloo KZN
1. Vanessa Mohr NTS
2. Franko Jonker NTS
3. Marce Loubser NTS
4. Janeke Malan WP
5. Lehesta Kemp NTS
6. Emily Visagie KZN
7. Catlin Kat WP
8. Taylor Lovemore KZN
9. Jamie Reynolds KZN
Coach: Graham Hill