Dubai: Three of Dubai's top swimmers have left to compete in the high-profile test event to be held as part of the preparations for the 2012 London Olympics.
Velimir Stjepanovic and Stefan Sorak, who will be representing Serbia, and Tiago Venancio, competing under the Portugal flag, left for the British Swimming Championships that will be held at London's brand new wave-like Aquatic Centre from March 3-10.
The trio are part of the Hamilton Aquatics squad led by managing director and head coach Chris Tidey. They have been training in Dubai ahead of the summer Olympics and this week's competition will be a good test to gauge their progress.
Stjepanovic was born and raised in the UAE and he has been one of the outstanding swimmers in the country since being ranked No 1 in the world for his age group at the first-ever Youth Olympic Games in Singapore in 2010.
Now 18, Stjepanovic has won medals at major events, including four golds at the 2008 British Nationals, Youth Olympics and European Championships. He has also successfully combined his intensive training regime with studying and achieving eight GCSEs and three A-Levels.
Venancio and Sorak are comparative newcomers to the UAE after shifting their training base to Hamilton Aquatics in the middle of last year.
The Portuguese's greatest memory is the European Juniors Championship, where he broke the European record and was awarded the Fastest Junior Swimmer of 2004 in the 100m freestyle with a time of 49.58s. Sorak's biggest success came when he won a gold medal, two silvers and a bronze in a World Cup event.