SPRINTER Samantha Richter was Zimbabwe’s only medal winner at the 8th All Africa Swimming Championships in Senegal that ended on Sunday.
The 17-year-old Chiredzi farmer’s daughter earned three bronze medals for the 5
0m butterfly (29,13 seconds), 100m freestyle (59,44 seconds) and 50m freestyle (27,56 seconds) to underline the benefit of her current full-time status at the Pretoria High Performance Centre in South Africa.
Ritcher’s 50m butterfly was a new Zimbabwe 17-year age group record, as was her 100m butterfly time of 1 minute 05,00sec.
Her Pretoria colleague, Kim Eeson of Spartan’s Swim Club, also shone in reaching several finals, finishing sixth in the 200m freestyle, fifth in the 100m freestyle and fourth in the 800m freestyle in a new Zimbabwe 17-year-old age group record of 9 minutes 14,62sec.
She also cracked two senior open Zimbabwe records in the 400m freestyle (4 minutes 29,04 seconds) and the 1 500m freestyle (17 minutes 53,49 seconds).
Maxine Heard, the 15-year-old Chisipite schoolgirl, cracked her personal best in the 100m breaststroke in 1 minute 18,47 seconds and reached the finals in all her events to establish herself as a potential future star.
Her close school friend, Moira Fraser (15), also reached the final of the 400m freestyle, but off her personal best.
Hilton College schoolboy Tim Ferris (16) and Harare’s Grant Beahan (17) also recorded some personal bests and on a few occasions just missed the finals.
As expected the Dakar continental championships were dominated by South Africa with 37 medals, including 19 golds.
Algeria were second and Tunisia third, while Kenya – fourth – recorded their best-ever showing with nine medals, including four golds, thanks to the Dunford brothers, Jason and David.
Star of the show — that attracted entries from 15 countries and 223 swimmers — was South Africa’s Tamaryn Laubscher who clinched six individual gold medals.
Centre stage for 2007 will focus on the Sub-Sahara Africa Championships in Harare from January 5 to 7, the All Africa Games in Algeria, July 5-10, and the Junior All Africa Championships in Egypt in August. — Own Corrspondent.