Thursday, March 26, 2009

Swimmer Natalie du Toit to compete in Paralympic World Cup

From The AP:

MANCHESTER, England — Natalie du Toit, the first female amputee swimmer to qualify for the Olympics, will compete in the Paralympic World Cup and against able-bodied swimmers at the World Championships.

The 25-year-old South African said Wednesday the 100-meter freestyle on May 25 at the Paralympic World Cup in Manchester was part of her efforts to gain experience in international competition ahead of the 2012 London Olympics.

Du Toit, who won five gold medals at both the 2004 and 2008 Paralympics, said she planned to take part in an open water event in July in the able-bodied World Championships in Rome.

"2009 is the first year of my preparations leading up to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and therefore I am taking baby steps," Du Toit said. "I had taken a two-week break after the Paralympics and worked up until the end of December in order for me to travel this year and gain as much international experience as I can, especially in open water swimming."

Du Toit, who finished 16th in the Olympic 10-kilometer open water race, said she wanted to swim in more open water World Cup events before the end of the year.

The Paralympic World Cup takes place May 20-25 and features more than 400 competitors.