Swimming South Africa (SSA) has revealed its revised 2020-21 competition plan in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
SSA says that the coronavirus situation has had a ‘serious impact on preparation for major continental and international swimming competitions’, with swimming clubs everywhere experiencing significant impact on their business operations.
At the time of publishing, the nation of South Africa has had 23,615 coronavirus cases reported, resulting in 481 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Center.
On May 25th, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that some national restrictions will be rolled back on June 1st, but specifics have not been unveiled.
Under an assumption that training can commence in at least July of this year, SSA has structured its competition program for the upcoming season into three distinct time frame windows of approximately 11-13 weeks.
Falling into window #1, which is defined by the months of September and November, are the following competitions:
- South African Short Course Nationals – September 24th-27th
- South African Junior Short Course Nationals – September 28th-October 1st
- Africa Championships – October/November, TBD
Window #2, which includes the month of December, is expected to include the following:
- South African Grand Prix Durban, December 7th-9th
The final window spans January – April 2021 and includes key Olympic qualifying competitions, including:
- South African Grand Prix Nelspruit, January 8th-10th
- South African Grand Prix Western Cape, OLY Qualifier, February 19th-21st
- South African Grand Prix Durban, OLY Qualifier, March 12th-14th
- South African Nationals, OLY Qualifier, April 7th-12th
- South African Junior Nationals, April 13th-17th
- CANA Zone IV Championships, End of April
- South Africa Grand Prix, TBD, OLY Qualifier, May 27th-29th
In the outline of its plan, SSA identifies the need to increase racing opportunities for swimmers that have missed out by the postponement/cancellation of events, including the 2019 South African National Championships.
Additionally, whereas the South African Nationals represented the sole qualifying opportunity in the past, SSA has now opened up several Grand Prix events later in the season that serve as qualifying competitions.
Below are the South Africans who have hit an Olympic-qualifying time (FINA A cut) since March 1, 2019:
- Brad Tandy, 50 free
- Chris Reid, 200 back
- Michael Houlie, 100 breast
- Chad Le Clos, 100 fly, 200 fly
- Ryan Coetzee, 100 fly
- Erin Gallagher, 100 free, 100 fly
- Tatjana Schoenmaker, 100 breast, 200 breast
- Kaylene Corbett, 200 breast