South Africa: South Africa's swimmers will be the guests of the Royal household of Monaco in the lead-up to the World Championships in Barcelona next July, mirroring their moves going into London 2012, at which Chad Le Clos wrote his name into Olympic history - in the words of 14-year-old bro Jordan - "My Brother, My Player, The Phelps Slayer". Graham Hill, mentor to Le Clos and head coach to South Africa, confirmed that Princess Charlene of Monaco, former South African international, extended an invitation to play host before London 2012 to this year. The move makes much sense: the principality along the coast from Nice in France is a short hop away from Barcelona, host to the 2013 world long-course titles in Spain. The aim of the South Africans is to match or improve on the two golds and one silver medal won by Le Clos (200m 'fly champion and silver in the 100m 'fly) and Cameron Van Der Burgh (100m breaststroke champion) at London 2012. On the eve of leaving for Perth, where a South Africa squad aimed at development - Le Clos and Van Der Burgh bypassing a tri-nations Super Series competition at which hosts Australia will field a string team against China - Shaun Adriaanse, chief executive of Swimming SA, told Times Live that any earnings at the meet would be channelled into development. High-performance manager Dean Price said the Perth-bound team is made up of swimmers gunning for Rio 2016, with hand-picked talent of boys aged 16-19 and girls aged 11-14. "We've adopted a very aggressive attitude," said Price. "They are in the team because they deserve to be. If someone faster comes along, they'll take their place." Johannesburg schoolgirl Nathania van Niekerk, 14 next week, is the youngest to go to Perth.
Singapore: British coach Ian Turner, mentor to Olympic medallist Paul Palmer (GBR), is imposing a 200m plus standard for youth swimmers in Singapore to get away from a culture of bashing kids up and down pools at an early age through a focus on sprint events. The Singapore Swimming Association (SSA) has followed Turner's advice and from the National Age-Group Championships in March, swimmers aged between eight to 12 must compete (having trained accordingly) over distances 200m or greater and not only focus on 50m and 100m events. Turner told Singapore's Today: “The problem is that subscriptions for 50m (sprint) events far outweigh anything else. Our medals ([at South-East Asia Games] are coming from sprints. If they were coming from the middle-distance events, then I’d say to do the middle-distance, you have also got to do the sprints. You must react to a situation, or else we will just never address [it]." In a note that ought to peel in the ear of all developing swim nations, Turner added: "To become a developed swimming nation, we have to develop all the events.” Thus avoiding the "dash development" culture that holds back development. FINA could encourage a better way by halting the obvious trend at world championships: development programmes are largely represented inn the 50m and 100m events but look through the 400IM, 200 'fly, 1500m free results and their presence is far more scarce, the level of type of training being carried out aimed at representation, not excellence.
Italy: Marco Orsi, the Italian sprinter, clocked 1:48.60 to win the 200m free at a short-course meet in Bologna at the weekend.