Swimming: Waiting on Lochte

File photo of American swimmer Ryan Lochte (right)

What will Ryan Lochte do?

That is what Singapore fans will be asking, as they wait to see if the American superstar will take the plunge at the inaugural Singapore Swim Stars competition this year.

The OCBC Aquatic Centre at the Singapore Sports Hub will host an array of stars in the Swim Stars event from Sept 5 to 7.

Olympic and world championship winners like Jessica Hardy, Ruta Meilutyte, Katinka Hosszu, Roland Schoeman, Cesar Cielo and Christian Sprenger are expected to be on the swimming blocks during the event.

Lochte has been invited for the competition, but has yet to confirm his attendance. According to the event’s website, the three-day competition will also feature corporate dinners, clinics and an open water swimming challenge.

The event will be officially unveiled this morning when the Sports Hub’s management officially announce the upcoming calendar of events. When contacted on Wednesday, Harald Eltevedt — who is organising the Swims Stars competition along with former French swimmer Stephan Caron — declined to go into details.

But he said: “This competition will have a unique format, and it will be the first here and in Asia.

“We are aiming to hold this every year and develop it into the most prestigious competition after the Olympic Games and the World Championships, and an equivalent of the Diamond League in athletics.”

Singapore Swimming Association (SSA) executive director Edwin Ker said he met with the organisers last Tuesday.

He said: “As there are still some matters to be confirmed, such as the schedule of events, we haven’t spoken to the local swimming fraternity yet.

“But we have asked them (the organisers) for slots for our local swimmers and they are working that out. It will be a good opportunity for our swimmers to do their speed work there before tapering for the Asian Games after that.”

The Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, will be held from Sept 19 to Oct 4.

Ker added that the Swim Stars event would be a good opportunity for the SSA to look for sponsors, generate publicity and woo participants for the Fina World Cup (short course) in November.

He said: “The Fina World Cup is our own marquee event, so we might also see how we can leverage on the event on matters like ticket sales for the World Cup, as well as potential sponsors.”

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