Zimbabwe: Swimming Championships Cancelled

FOLLOWING the long break induced by the Level Four lockdown, the Zimbabwe Aquatic Union have made some changes to their calendar.

And, instead of staging the National Swimming Championships, they are now expecting to host an end-of-season competition in April.

Swimming is one of the sport codes, which were last year allowed to resume, and they got their season underway in September, holding competitions under strict Covid-19 regulations.

They went for the festive season holidays, hoping to resume their activities, for the second half of the season.

But, after the suspension of all sporting activities in January, they could not continue with their programme.

A number of competitions were affected, including the Senior National Championships, which were scheduled for February.

They were postponed indefinitely while the Juniors' event was set for this month.

There were also a number of provincial events that were affected.

The swimming season usually runs until April and, taking into consideration the remaining time, Zimbabwe swimming chairperson, Tracey Doorman, said they have had to adjust their activities.

Instead of staging the national championships, they are now expecting to host an end-of-season competition, from April 7 to12.

They are also taking into account the fact that swimmers have not been training, and it will not be possible, to complete a full complement of their programme.

"It is unlikely that the full complement of events will be able to be completed, as by April, pools are cold and we have no ratified pools for competition which are heated," said Doorman.

"Also, swimmers have not been training for two months now - apart from trying to maintain fitness at home, so, it will take them time to be 'competition' ready

"Again, due to the shortened season, it was decided that both Senior Nationals and Junior Nationals, would not be held in the traditional format.

"We are working on an end-of-season competition, which will have a different format, where we hope to include some of the junior age groups, at least, in some of the events.

"We have set the weekend of the 7-12 April for this event."

Prior to the start of the season last year, most clubs also faced some challenges, in accessing training facilities.

But, as the season progressed, swimmers made some encouraging improvements.

In the event sport returns, following the relaxation of the lockdown, Doorman said the end of season may be held virtually.

"We anticipate it may have to be 'virtual" and be held in the various provinces and then results (are) combined, to minimise travel and also keep competitors numbers manageable with Covid-19 restrictions and protocols.

"This obviously is dependent on competition being allowed," said Doorman.

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