Both Olympic champion Cameron van der Burgh and World Championships bronze medalist Giulio Zorzi have pulled out of the 2014 BHP Billiton Super Series that will be held on January 31st and February 1st in Perth. Both van der Burgh and Zorzi were on the team that was originally announced in mid December, but their names have been removed from the team lists on the event’s website.
In an article on Sport24 website, that included an interview with South African National Team Head Coach Graham Hill, the absence of both swimmers was mentioned, but there was no reason given for why the two athletes had to pull out of the competition.
Hill did discuss the South African team’s chances in the event, stating that the teams medal hopes lay in the hands of swimmers such as Chad le Clos, Myles Brown and Karin Prinsloo, “We hope to see a better performance this year but once again we are not looking for them to beat the big stars of world swimming,” said Hill.
“We’ll leave that up to the likes of Chad le Clos, Myles Brown and Karin Prinsloo who have to match the big names.”
After finishing far behind both the Australians and Chinese in the medal totals at the 2013 Super Series, the South Africans once again will bring a team full of youngsters to Perth, “The juniors must just go about their business and keep on improving, we made huge steps already with Jarred Crous, who is coming along quickly and very nicely,” Hill said.
Crous, 17, competed in the event last year finishing sixth in the 100 breaststroke and fifth in the 200 breaststroke recently beat out Zorzi to win the 100 breaststroke at the most recent South African National Championships (van der Burgh did not take part in the event).
Hill is taking the approach that the competition is more about helping his team prepare for bigger events than it is about making the medal podium, “It is a three-year period and we said when we picked the team last year. It was a very young team, a lot of those kids had survived and made the team again.”
“So by the time April comes we know we are good to go and we’ll make Commonwealth and we will be ready to attack titles.”