Davison Bhunu Sports Reporter
YOUTH, Sport, Arts and Recreation Minister Kirsty Coventry has hailed the performance by junior Zimbabwe swimmers after they won the 2020 Cana Zone IV Swimming Championships in Botswana at the weekend.
Coventry, a swimming legend who transformed herself into Africa’s most decorated Olympian during an illustrious career, was delighted by the brilliant showing by the Zimbabwean team which topped the tables.
Zimbabwe emerged the overall winners after bagging 85 medals in the three-day swimming jamboree.
Namibia came second, but were a considerable distance from Zimbabwe’s medal haul as they had 63 medals.
“I’m so proud of Zimbabwe. We rocked this weekend. Team Zimbabwe was the top ranked team at the Cana Swimming Championships in Botswana, with 85 medals,” tweeted Coventry yesterday.
The three-day swimming gala, which attracted participants from more than 13 countries from across the continent, came to an end on Sunday.
Zimbabwe was represented by 35 swimmers at the event.
The team brought home 34 gold, 31 silver and 20 bronze medals.
They sat comfortably on top of the medal table followed by Namibia.
The Namibians had 28 gold, 15 silver and 20 bronze medals.
The hosts, Botswana, did well to finish third with 42 medals, including 11 gold, 19 silver and 12 bronze.
Mozambique, Mauritius, Seychelles, South Africa, Zambia, Malawi and Angola completed the top 10.
Four records were smashed during the weekend with Zimbabwe’s Denilson Cyprianos managing to clock a new Championship record time of 2:09.41 to claim the men’s 17-and-over 100m backstroke title.
Zimbabwe also won the 4 x 50m freestyle relays with the team managing to scoop all four gold medals in 1:38.62 for the men’s over-15; 1:59.73 for the ladies’ Under-14; 1:52.87 for the ladies’ over-15 and 1:49.12 for the men’s Under-14.
Team Zimbabwe coach, Sheelah, Cruse was full of praise for the junior swimmers, who demonstrated that the future is bright for the nation in swimming.
“We are very pleased with our results and we are also very proud of each and every swimmer. Everyone contributed to the points tally, I am very proud of the team,” said Cruse.
Zimbabwe’s Courtney Brown (17) was first in the 50m freestyle with a time of 28.52 and finished ahead of teammate Nomvula Mjimba (28.84).
Mjimba went on to win the 100m butterfly in 1:10.70.
Tichatonga Makaya (13) won the 100m butterfly in 1:03.96.
Vhenekai Dhemba (13) topped the medal podium in the 13-14 age-group 100m butterfly with a time of 1:10.03.
She was followed by team-mate Mkhuseli Mahobele (14) in 1:12.59 and Botswana’s Kimberly Ingwe (14) in 1:13.04.
Zimbabwe’s Paige van der Westhuizen and South Africa’s Danica van Jaarsveld walked away with silver and bronze medals in the 400m freestyle in 4:40.73 and 4:47.76.
The ladies’ 200m backstroke 13-14 age-group final was won by Zimbabwe’s Timea Schultz (14) in 2:29.86 followed by Botswana’s Kimberly Ingwe (14) in 2:37.91 and South Africa’s Kaeli-Peace Armour (13) in 2:40.33
In the mixed Under-14 4 x 100m medley relay, Zimbabwe won the title in 4:42.21 ahead of South Africa in 4:49.76 and Mozambique in 4:52.13, while the Over-15 gold was claimed by Mauritius in 4:22.09 followed by Zimbabwe in 4:22.21 and Botswana in 4:24.34.