Botswana swimmers posted an impressive showing at the CANA Zone 3 & 4 Swimming Championships held at the University of Botswana pools this week.
By Friday, Botswana was perched on top of the overall scoreboard with 1480 points, 70 ahead of Zimbabwe, who were placed second and still ahead of other swimming powerhouses in the form of Mauritius and South Africa.
Botswana took advantage of being hosts of the swimming championships and entered as many athletes as possible, something which is paying dividends in the pool depths.
Speaking to Standard Sport on the sidelines of the championships, Botswana Swimming Sports Association (BSSA) president, James Kamyuka, says the country has registered 52 swimmers to take part in the championships.
The BSSA president says more than 50 percent of the participating local team athletes are citizens while others are residents. He says out of this number, only ten are national team regulars while the rest are developmental swimmers.
The BSSA president further told Standard Sport that of the ten national team swimmers, two have already been to the Olympics while the other eight are being readied for both the London 2012 and Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic games.
Concerning the performance of local swimmers, the BSSA president says it has been very impressive.
“Last year at the same games in Kenya, we came in fourth position overall. This time around, we are in the lead and this shows we have upped our performance over the year,” Kamyuka observed. He further says he is optimistic that hosting the event of this magnitude by BSSA will go a long way in improving and promoting citizen development and participation in swimming sport.
He, however, lamented that despite the abundance of young talent in the country, lack of facilities was hampering the development of swimming sport in the country.
At the moment, Botswana has only two good swimming facilities, the UB swimming pools and the Botswana Police swimming pools.
Kamyuka, however, says he is hopeful that the situation will change in future as they have put in a request with the powers that be to include swimming facilities in their upcoming sports facilities infrastructures. Concerning the actual championships, Kamyuka says the standard of competition at the games has been very impressive, with 8 games’ records broken on Thursday only. He also expressed delight on the number of countries taking part in the competition.
Eleven countries, namely Angola, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe took part in the event, which ended yesterday (Saturday) while Tanzania failed to turn up. Meanwhile, the BSSA president says the flawless hosting of the swimming championships has already been noticed by participants at the games.
He says at the moment, they have already been asked if they can host the Africa Youth Championships in the near future while Mozambique has asked for BSSA assistance as they prepare to host the next Zone 3 & 4 swimming championships in the coming year.