The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Mashonaland Retains Title

THE curtain came down on the National Swimming Championships on Monday with no national records being broken in the five-day event at Les Brown Pool. The gala, which started last week on Thursday, ended with defending champions Mashonaland retaining their title when they finished on top of the rankings with 3 171 points.

They amassed 246 medals, including 112 gold medals, followed by Matabeleland who had 124 medals and had a total score of I 529 points.

Mashonaland Country District claimed 33 medals while Manicaland and Midlands had four medals each.

However, despite some remarkable performances from some of the swimmers such as Nicholas Burnett, James Lawson, Ashby Tink, Natasha Lawson, Hollie Stander, Mieke Koen and Courtney McAllister no national records were broken.

Zimbabwe Aquatic Union president, Mary Kloppers, said they were not worried since it is the beginning of the year and their records run up to December.

"I am very happy with the organisation, Mashonaland Board did an outstanding job. The results are very good, we had swimmers who achieved their personal best times.

"There were no national records broken except for the Mashonaland record but we still have o ratify on that.

"It's not a problem because our national records run from January to December and we expect more records towards the end of the year," said Kloppers.

Kloppers said there are a lot of talented upcoming swimmers who need to be monitored on their progress.

"We have a lot of juniors showing the potential and we need to work with them. Right now we are looking at the 11 to 13-year-olds, we need to work with them for the future. We have to develop and nurture them.

"We do have the talent even if other provinces are smaller, there are some individuals who got talent that needs to be nurtured," said Kloppers.

The gala was being used for the selection of a team that will compete in a Level three competition scheduled for South Africa next month and the Confederation of African Swimming Associations (CANA) competition set for Zambia.

The ZAU president said they were expecting better results in South Africa.

"We are going to Zambia in April for CANA Zone Three and Four. For Level three we are expecting better results than last year because the team has the experience.

"For CANA the other countries are sending top athletes but because of the fact that in this country we don't have government support, parents fund tours themselves, so they have to be selective, according to the finances, and unfortunately CANA is not viewed as important.

"We will not be able to send our top athletes because of funding," said Kloppers.

Some of the swimmers to compete in South Africa are, Lawson who walked away with the men's overall points title after he managed to score 126 points and he said he is satisfied with his performance and will be intensifying his preparations for the Level Three gala.

"I feel satisfied. I am happy with my races and everything is looking good. For my Level Three I am going to train twice everyday. I am also going for the World Junior championships and I am going to win.

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