Ellina Mhlanga Sports Reporter
HARARE Amateur Swimming Board vice chairperson Zanele Nkomazana says the upcoming National Senior Championships to take place from January 8 to 12 in Bulawayo remain important for their swimmers as they get the opportunity to compete with their counterparts at national level.
HAS named a strong team of over 100 swimmers selected from the province’s clubs to represent them next month.
Harare also enjoys the advantage of numbers over the other participants, which put them in a good position for the top spot at the national event despite some tough competition from provinces such as Matabeleland.
Nkomazana said besides having the bigger team at the national competition, their standard has remained high as their swimmers have to meet certain qualifying times to make the team.
But he pointed out that the national event always produces some surprises with some good challenge from other provinces.
“The good thing about the selection of teams by provinces is the criteria we use as a province. So we rank our swimmers high because for our selection we base it on the qualifying times for those going to tour in South Africa.
“So you will find that some of our top swimmers are left behind because they have not made the South African Tours. We are always competing for that position in the team.
“So what makes it good is even when they get there, besides competing amongst their own provincial counterparts, they have new surprises from other provinces. So for us as a province being big and having most of the top athletes, especially girls swimmers, we take it that our swimmers improve that way because they are competing with the best every day,” said Nkomazana.
The team was finalised after the provincial championships held between late last month and early December at Les Brown Swimming Pool in Harare.
“We are obviously the biggest in the country. We have got a lot of swimmers. So out of all the swimmers, I think from almost 200 swimmers, who swam (at the provincial competition), we managed to select 111 and a total of 102 are travelling to Bulawayo.
“It’s a very strong team, most of our Harare swimmers are at the highest level of competition for Zimbabwe and so we have 39 boys and 63 girls, unbalanced as it is but we obviously are very strong and hope to win by a big margin.
“We have withdrawals for obvious reasons, some being finances, some medical and some on holiday because this gala was brought forward to January.
“Some are going for school camps, going for Form Ones beginning of the year and school comes first for them. So those are the withdrawals,” said Nkomazana.
The team will be led by captains Ashley Makuwa and Dylan Huang. Their vice captains are Gemma Schonken, Courtney Brown and Carl Kaziboni.
Some of the top swimmers included in the team are Donata Katai, Vhenekai Dhemba, Wisdom Shumba, Limbikani Kalipengule and Tanatsirwa Chitsurura.