Daniel Gyurta and Cameron van der Burgh have both signaled to the organizers of Bergen Swim Festival that they intend to travel to Norway's second largest city in order to compete at the event held in mid-April.
Last year the meet was planned for the 4th-6th of May, just a few days after the death of Alexander Dale Oen. It got cancelled, but this year it is back on the schedule with the full name Bergen Swim Festival - Alexander Dale Oen Memorial.
The meet has attracted Nordic Swim stars as Jeanette Ottesen and Stefan Nystrand in the past, in addition to international swimmers like Oleg Lisogor, Cameron van der Burgh and Aschwin Wildeboer.
This year van der Burgh returns to the city where he once trained with his friend Alexander Dale Oen. Where he got hammered in training by Alexander Dale Oen. After his Olympic Gold he dedicated the medal to the Norwegian.
This year he is joined by Daniel Gyurta, the 200-meter champion from London who said that he wanted to present Dale Oens family with a replica of his Olympic Gold Medal, saying the Norwegian deserved it.
According to the largest newspaper in the country, VG, Dale Oens family will be presented with the replica at "Idrettsgallaen" (Norwegian Sport Awards) on the 12th of January. Some part of the ceremony will serve as a remembrance for the swimming ace.
Now they both are coming to Bergen in memory and honour of the Shanghai World Champion.
The organizers make no attempt in hiding that the factor of Norway's greatest ever swimmer has a lot of bearing in the decisions of the swim stars to swim in Bergen.
– Of course, Alexanders personality and their connection to him is what matters the most when they decide to come to Norway, says BSFs international liaison Jan Allers to Norwegian TV 2.
They are however joined by a team of strong Danes. All of the locally based danish swimmers will make the trip to Norway, including three of the four World Champions from the 4x100 medley relay in Istanbul. The Danes have been regular visitors to the meet, although awkwardly placed for a short course-meet.
The organizers are hoping this years meet will set a standard for the meet to be at for the forthcoming years, where they will make the transition into a 50 meter pool.
– In the long term we want Bergen Swim Festival to be a big international swim meet, but the conditions will improve once we have the new pool ready, says leader of the organizing committee Gjert Dahl.
This year however the main attraction will be, as it always has been, the 100 meter breaststroke for men. Alexander Dale Oen vs. Cameron van der Burgh vs. Oleg Lisogor were thrillers in the past. For this edition it will be a lot more subdued and undoubtedly a strange feeling for those involved, but still with high quality swimmers in the pool.
– It will be the roughest, hardest and most emotional race of the whole meet. We will try to make a frame around it worthy of the occasion, says Dahl.
If you want to read more about Bergen Swim Festival - Alexander Dale Oen Memorial, you can visit their homepage: http://www.bsf.no/en