Opportunity for locals to shine at swimming championships

Sukoluhle Mtetwa



LOCAL swimmers have been presented with the chance to compete against other swimmers from the region in the sub-Saharan Invitational Swimming Championsh

ips set for early January in Harare.


The championships will run from January 5-7 at Les Brown swimming pool. The country’s top swimmers will take part in individual and team events.


A Mashonaland Swimming Board of Control spokesperson said the final team will be selected in December after the Mashonaland Championships.


“Five regions will take part and the final team to participate will only be chosen after the Mashonaland Championships,” the spokesperson said.


Kenya, South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho are also expected to take part in the international gala.


The spokesperson said Zimbabwe was expecting tough competition from South Africa and Kenya.


“Kenya and South Africa are very strong countries and they are dominant. Therefore we expect to get stiff competition from them,” he said.


Each country will be allowed two swimmers per event.


Most of the swimmers who stand a chance of being selected featured in the FINA Swimming World Cup Short Course Galas. The championships were held in Durban, South Africa, and in the United States.


The spokesperson said more swimmers will have a chance to be part of the squad as there were Mashonaland championships coming up in December.


‘‘The last chance for swimmers will be the championships that have been set for Harare,” he said.


Tim Ferris and Dion Kruger are among top swimmers expected to make the group that will be selected by the Zimbabwe Swimming Board of Control. The duo also took part in the Durban meeting and seem most likely to make it to the 2008 Olympics to be held in Beijing.


Ferris and Kirsty Lapham are the only foreign-based swimmers likely to make it into the team as others will be unavailable due to other commitments.


Swimmers who impressed in the season opening Mutare Sprint Gala are also expected to be part of the team.


Also expected to participate are swimmers who brought home 75 medals from Windhoek last year.


Kim Eeson who is at the High Performance Centre in South Africa is also expected to make it into the final team. Kimberley Ritchie who was also expected to be part of the team will not be available as she is reported to have left the country.


‘‘It’s a pity that Kimberley will not make it into the team,” the spokesperson said. “She is a very good swimmer and it’s most likely that she would have made it into the final team.”