Ellina Mhlanga Senior Sports Reporter
IT WAS pleasing to see local swimmers improving their times after a successful participation at the CANA Zone IV Championships in Lusaka, Zambia swimming coach Michael Ranken has said.
The four-day championships were held in Lusaka with 13 countries taking part and Zimbabwe claimed the top spot.
Zimbabwe, who were the 2020 winners, repeated the same feat this year after fielding a strong team that included the likes of Donata Katai, Tanatsirwa Chitsurura, Cory Werrett, Ryan Franceys as well as upcoming swimmers Kyle Guta and Limbikani Kalipengule, among others.
Ranken together with Lindsy Tudor-Cole were the coaches that travelled with the team and he gave credit to the team for giving their best in the pool.
Most of the swimmers posted their personal best times during the competition.
“I think our team performance was outstanding. We were a team and everyone worked together. We pushed each other and everyone was on top of the game.
“Our performance was superb in such a way that the support that each and every team member was giving to another team member and being there for every team member and knowing that it’s a team effort was outstanding. That’s why we performed the way we did.
“As a coach, I am satisfied with the times that were posted because if you look at those times, they were outstanding. You have got Cory Werrett, who is swimming a 23 (seconds) 50m free. He is still young, you have got Tanatsirwa Chitsurura, who managed to swim 27 seconds in 50m free.
“So every swimmer that we had, every swimmer that we took, managed to take off time. They were pushing, they were swimming faster, they were doing everything that they can.
“Of course, we had the likes of Donata Katai, who gave us the experience that she had because she is our swimmer who managed to participate in the last Olympics and then she was there with the other swimmers.
“They were all pushing each other, so that’s an achievement and that’s what we went there for. We went there for times and our times are even better,” said Ranken.
Ranken said it is encouraging to see the swimmers improving their times considering the turnout and level of competition at the championships.
Last year the regional championships were replaced by a virtual competition due to Covid-19.
“The competition is a top level competition where every country gets to send their (best) swimmers to compete.
“Some will be looking to qualify to go to Junior Worlds, some will be looking to qualify to go for the Commonwealth Games. So there are a lot of things that people are looking at because they are looking for times, they are looking to improve in swimming,” said Ranken.
Some of the events they are looking forward to this year include the CANA Senior Championships and the African Union Sports Council Region Five Youth Games scheduled for December in Malawi.