The likes of Le Clos, Schoeman and Cameron van der Burgh – South Africa’s active Olympic champions, past and present – are unlikely to be upset in their specialist events.
Van der Burgh will set his own pace in the 100m breaststroke final tonight, but the 50m butterfly could be a different matter.
The word on pool deck is that Le Clos, who turned 21 last Friday, is looking to topple the warhorse Schoeman – the world champion in 2005 and 2007, and the first man on the planet to break the 23-second barrier for 50m butterfly (and that was before the fast suits, which have since been outlawed).
You might think it’s a showdown that should attract live television and have sponsors falling over themselves to get involved in the sport.
If so, you would be wrong.
Van der Burgh and Le Clos might be well endorsed, but Swimming South Africa is still searching for a title sponsor.
Of the seven gold Olympic medals won by South Africans since returning from isolation, five of them have come from the pool.
But Swimming South Africa CEO Shaun Adriaanse said the body’s annual budget has already been slashed to R20-million.
He and president Jace Naidoo are confident that talks with potential funders – corporates, Lotto and the government – will ensure they cover the R7-million shortfall on their 2013-14 budget.
The one sponsorship they do have, with swimwear company Arena, is not well-received by all swimmers.
The deal stipulates that all swimmers must wear Arena – and there are one or two US-based swimmers who are reluctant to return to South Africa for the national championships because of this.
If there is a contract breach, Swimming South Africa must pay a fine to Arena.
The federation ruled recently that youngsters have to swim the 200m individual medley – a race involving four strokes – if they want to attend national age-group galas.
It has also stipulated that swimmers cannot qualify in non-Olympic sprints for the World Championships in Barcelona in July.
If they make the team this week, then they can compete in Barcelona in non-Olympic races.