Uitenhage swimming twins Alaric and Alard Basson are preparing for a week of explosive performances when they compete for South Africa in the World Short Course Championships in Canada next week.
Taking place in Windsor, Ontario, the 13th Fina short course championships will see the 20-year-old Nedbank NMMU Swimming Club stars test themselves against the world’s elite from December 6 to 11.
Alaric is preparing for a week of intense competition as he tries to make his mark in the 200m breaststroke and the 100m individual medley (IM).
“There is a big difference in short course racing in a 25m pool. It is far more explosive than events in an Olympic size pool which is 50m long,” said Alaric.
“For example, you will pace yourself in the 200m long course event but in the shorter pool it’s basically a sprint all the way. That makes it a lot tougher and much more intense.”
In this year’s national short course gala Alaric won the bronze medal in the 200m breaststroke and silver in the 100m IM.
The Bassons have been fine-tuning their preparations at the Herbert Hurd Primary School’s 25-metre pool.
“We have been training really hard and the intensity has been right up there,” said Alaric. “We have been putting in eight sessions a week, including explosive gym training.”
He said his goals were to achieve his personal best times in each discipline.
“Hopefully I can make a final and then we will just have to see what happens. This is definitely another opportunity to make a mark for ourselves.”
Alard, who will compete in the 100m butterfly and 100 IM, said the build-up had been “quite hectic”.
“We did pick up the intensity quite a bit but now we are in the tapering phase which means that we are easing off and getting our bodies conditioned for racing.”
He said the biggest challenge they faced was to adopt a positive attitude as they approached a meeting with the world’s elite swimming stars.
“We will have to go there with the right mindset and that is always the test in senior events such as this because you have to be ready to compete against the top guys.”
He added it was a perfect chance to show what they could do as they didn’t often swim in senior world events of this nature.
“This is the biggest meeting we will have attended so there’s a lot of excitement, but also a touch of nervousness.”
The Bassons face a lengthy trip at the weekend, flying to Johannesburg on Friday and then to Canada, via Heathrow in London.
“It is a bit tiring but we have four days before the competition to recover and to adjust, so that should be enough for us to be ready,” said Alard, who earned a bronze medal in the 200m butterfly at the SA Short Course Championships.