Ellina Mhlanga Senior Sports Reporter
THE annual Senior Harare Amateur Swimming Championships got underway yesterday at Les Brown Swimming Pool in Harare with around 200 swimmers participating.
The championships are held over two consecutive weekends.
This year’s competition took off yesterday and runs until tomorrow before a short break ahead of the last phase running from December 2 to 4.
All HAS clubs – Highlands, Sharks, Pirates, Otters, Spartans and Dorados – are taking part in the championships. The province has had several galas since the season took off in September and HAS board member Nikki Johnsen believes their swimmers are going to post some good times at the provincial meet.
“Preparations are going well and swimmers are training hard with all (of) them trying to get personal best times. I think we are going to see great results from our swimmers having seen the level at the other galas.
“Some of the leading swimmers are Mikayla Makwabarara, Ryan Francis, Cory Werrett, Benjamin Rorke, Donata Katai and Alexis Johnsen,” said Johnsen.
The championships are a platform for HAS to select their provincial team for the national championships.
The provincial competition is also set to provide a platform for a number of swimmers from the province who are part of Team Zimbabwe to compete at the African Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region Five Games in Malawi from December 2 to 11.
Although they will miss the second week, they get an opportunity to assess their state of preparedness before they leave for Malawi.
“We have many of our 14 plus swimmers going to the Region Five Games and unfortunately they will all miss the second weekend.
“The swimmers will definitely be using this event to better themselves for the upcoming Games,” said Johnsen.
Swimming is one of the sporting disciplines that produced more medals at the last edition of the regional Games.
Zimbabwe Swimming chair, Zanele Nkomazana, said they are not concerned about times for those going for the AUSC Region Five Games but just fine tuning their preparations.
“The HAS championships will indicate to us their preparedness for the Games though, we do not expect good times,” said Nkomazana.
Highlands are the defending champions after emerging tops last season. They will be hoping to stretch their dominance again this year.
However, they are likely to face a good competition from Spartans who proved to be a force to reckon with when coming second at the previous championships despite having less swimmers in terms of numbers compared to Highlands.