Ellina Mhlanga Sports Reporter
THE curtain came down on the Senior National Swimming Championships on Monday in Bulawayo with Mashonaland retaining their title after amassing 240 medals.
The championships started last Thursday with Mashonaland, Matabeleland, Mashonaland Country District, Midlands and Manicaland participating in the five-day competition.
Mashonaland, who always have the highest number of swimmers, scooped 240 medals — 97 gold, 79 silver and 64 bronze.
They were followed by Matabeleland with 129 medals while Mashonaland Country District were third with 26 medals.
On fourth position were Manicaland with 12 medals.
Zimbabwe Aquatic Union president, Mary Kloppers, was impressed with the quality of the competition as they had 23 swimmers qualifying for the Level Three competition to be held in South Africa next month.
Prior to the championships, Kloppers was worried with the continued low participation of swimmers at the event but yesterday the ZAU president said although the numbers were still down, it was better than last year.
“The whole event was well run by the Matabeleland board. We had astounding results. This year in our top level age-group we had 23 qualifying for the Level Three competition in South Africa. We haven’t had that number for many years.
“Of the 23, we have 15 that will be travelling, some are not going because of finances and other commitments. So we have got three girls and 12 boys. All are young swimmers, so looking at the future we have a very good future.
“The turnout in the end was not that much worse than last year.
The numbers were less but better than last year.
“Now we go to South Africa in March. The first group goes on the 16th of March, others will follow at the end of March, beginning of April.
“On the 17th of April, we will go for the CANA championships in Mauritius. We have 28 swimmers, which is also a very good number and they are high level swimmers, it’s a very strong team,” said Kloppers.
Kloppers said although the numbers are still down in terms of participants, they are pleased with the improvements on the quality of swimmers they have and paid tribute to the coaches for their efforts.
“The improvement on the quality this year had been remarkable. Quantity may not be improving but the quality is improving, ultimately that is what we need to get medals.
It goes go down to the coaches, they have working hard and we should give them credit,” said Kloppers.