Ambitious in Antwerp
The Swiss swimming team say they are full of confidence ahead of the European short course championships, which get under way in Antwerp on Thursday.
Having won two medals at last year's short course championships in Valencia, the Swiss say they're ready to do even better this time around.
"We want to surpass our performance from last year," insists national head coach Pierre-André Weber.
Young star Flavia Rigamonti will be the biggest hope among the 17-strong Swiss squad. After deciding not to compete in Valencia 12 months ago, the 20-year-old from Ticino will be among the medal favourites this week in both the 400 and 800-metre crawls.
"Everything other than a medal for her would be a disappointment," reckons Weber. "Flavia has been training longer and harder than ever (while studying at the Southern Methodist University in Texas). Mentally as well she seems very impressive."
Podium for Strasser?
Rigamonti's presence is likely to make it a good deal harder for fellow Swiss Chantal Strasser to defend last year's gold medal in their shared 800-metre discipline, although a podium place should be well within the 23-year-old's reach.
Switzerland's second medallist in Valencia, Karel Novy, is also thought to be in good shape to defend the 100-metre crawl bronze medal which he won 12 months ago.
Lorenz Liechti, Yves Platel, Remo Lütolf and Dominique Diezi are also expected to make it the finals of their disciplines, while newcomers Céline Baillod and David Richard will be keen just to gather some experience on their international debuts.
Strong international line-up
Outside of the Swiss contingent, four of Europe's Olympic gold medallists will also be looking to shine. Triple Olympic champion Inge de Bruijn will be joined by Dutch team-mate and double Sydney gold medallist Pieter van den Hoogenband. Ukrainian double champion Jana Klotschkova and Sweden's Lars Frölander complete the golden quartet.
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