Story by Mthokozisi Dube
SWIMMERS who excelled at the just ended Zimbabwe National Swimming Championships held in Bulawayo are hungry for more after getting an opportunity to represent the country at international level.
For the first time, the Zimbabwe National Swimming Championships received buy-in from parents and the corporate world, giving participants the perfect platform to showcase their talent.
It was the best stage for selecting swimmers that will represent Zimbabwe at the South African Junior and Senior Championships penciled for March and April.
After a podium finish in the five day extravaganza, those who made the cut were excited at the prospect of representing the country.
Zimbabwe Swimming Board Chairperson, Zanele Nkomazana was ecstatic after 22 athletes advanced to the junior championships, up from their usual 10 athletes.
“For starters, we had a lot of provinces coming on board this time around except for Masvingo. It is a first for our swimming championships to have full participation. New provinces like Matabeleland North Province also gave their best although we were swimming under rain.
“It was a tough competition and we managed to compete. We will be sending 22 athletes for the South Africa Junior Championships, a great improvement,” said
The Bulawayo Swimming Pool also evoked fond memories for the Minister of Youth, Sport Arts and Recreation, Kirsty Coventry, a gold medal-winning swimmer in her own right.
“It brings lots of good memories. I had a brief this morning with the swimming fraternity and was told that 22 athletes have made the cut to the SA Junior Championships, it speaks volumes on the growth of the sport.
“Overally the swimmers have swum so well despite the not so good weather. Infrastructure is now good. Back in our days we could walk up and down as warm but I am glad to see we now have warm up pools. This will improve the sport,” she said.
Harare Province dominated in the girls’ category with 1660,50 points, while Bulawayo were the best in the men’s category with 1307 points.