Former Zimbabwe Aquatic Union president and current Sharks coach, Kathy Lobb has called on stakeholders to give support to young swimmers who have the potential to become Olympic champions if they are to be given an opportunity.
Lobb, who is also a coach at Harare Convent School, was the manager of the swimming team that participated at the Beijing Olympics where Kirsty Coventry clinched three medals.
In an interview with NewsDay at the weekend, Lobb expressed satisfaction with the local swimming standards but said a lot more could be done.
“The level of competition is very strong and we are grateful to the Olympic committee, the Zimbabwe Aquatic Union and some of the parents who help us on a voluntary basis. We hope this support will continue and even improve to ensure the growth of local swimming. That way we should be able to produce more Olympic champions in the future,” said Lobb.
“Kirsty Coventry, who is one of Zimbabwe’s most successful athletes on the international stage, holds some of the national school records that the young girls here today are trying to break. She didn’t just become the world champion out of nowhere. She started off at the same level with these young girls when she was at Dominican Convent.”
Lobb has been organising school swimming tournaments for the last three decades and has used these platforms to scout for young talent.
Sharks has been the top swimming club in the country, coming out tops at the National Sprint Championships held in Mutare recently. The club also won the junior Mashonaland Championships held in Harare, taking the Aggregate trophy which is awarded to the best team of the season.
Young girls from Chisipite, Arundel, Peterhouse, Lomagundi College, Hellenic, Harare Convent and College Girls competed in the National A Section Interschool’s girls swimming gala at Les Brown swimming pool at the weekend, a tournament Lobb had also organised.
Samantha Welsh captained Chisipite Senior school swimming team which was the overall best.
Some of the swimmers who competed are part of the preliminary swimming team which is set to be announced by ZAU that is expected to represent Zimbabwe at the Junior Olympics to be held in Singapore from August 14th-26th this year.
However, they still have to work hard to set qualifying times for their respective events when they compete in South Africa in two weeks time.