MORE than 1 200 contestants participated in this year’s edition of the Zimbabwe Swimming season opener, the National Sprint Gala, held at Mutare City Pool over the weekend.
The event, which has been a fixture on Zimbabwe’s swimming calendar for the past 40 years and has been hosted in Mutare 35 times, saw 16 clubs competing in various categories.
The clubs are Affiliated Crusaders Swimmers, Border Dolphins Zimbabwe, Crocs, Dashing Dolphins, Dorado Swim Club, Highlands, Midlands, Penguins Club, School of Swimming, Shabani Dolphins, Sharks, Spartans, Stingrays Swimming Academy, The Falcons Swimming Club, Unattached and Vikings.
Despite limitations in facilities, Zanele Nkomazana, the Zimbabwe Swimming chairperson, expressed hope for the upcoming season and the abundant talent in the country that needs nurturing.
She urged the Government to provide more facilities to ensure the sport reaches every corner of the country, adding that apart from the competition aspect, swimming is a life-saving technique that needs to be taught to every citizen.
“We are happy that it went on well and we are now looking forward to more national competitions as the season progresses. We applaud the zeal shown by the participants during the event and it is more evidence of abundant talent in the country that only need nurturing,” Nkomazana said.
“The issue of facilities has been hampering rapid development of swimming since we only have three functional and up to standard pools in Harare, Bulawayo and this one in Mutare.
“We have appealed to the Government for help in availing more facilities and also ensuring the sport reaches all corners.
“Zimbabwe Swimming is undertaking an initiative to make use of every other water body available to teach people swimming skills,” she said.
Participants competed in numerous categories that include the 15 years and over where Harare-based Vikings Club’s Limbikani Kalipengule scooped pole position.
Liam Chicksen of Crusader Club from Bulawayo, came second, while Ethan Chivaura of Stingray Club also from Bulawayo was third.
Kalipengule said: “It was a good race. I got a personal best time of two minutes 13 seconds in the 200m freestyle. My previous personal best time was two minutes 16 seconds.
In the 12 years and over 100m, Mbalenhle Jared of Crocs came first, with Nhanisi Moyo of Crusaders coming second.
In the 15 years and over 100m freestyle, Crusaders’ Nsikelelo Sibanda ruled the roost, while Tarirai Madamombe Jr of Harare outfit Vikings settled for second place and Kalipengule was third.