Lawson scoops two gold medals

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Zimbabwe teenage swimming sensation James Lawson scooped two gold medals at the Telkom South Africa Senior and Youth Swimming Championship in Port Elizabeth recently.

The championships attracted South Africa’s top swimmers and rising talent from April 6-18 at the Newton Park Swimming Pool in Port Elizabeth.

Lawson won the 100 metres backstroke and the 200 metres breaststroke events as he continued his trailblazing form this season.

The St George’s College student registered his first win in the 100 metres by clocking 1:05,21 ahead of the South African pair of Daniel Marsden (1:05,58) and Fabian Ruszcynki (1:05,90), who finished third and fourth respectively.

His winning time of 1:05,21 in the 100m breaststroke was just below the national mark of 1:04:68 Lawson set at the 4th Zone VI Games in Swaziland in December last year.

Lawson followed his earlier performance with another podium finish in the 200 metres breaststroke after touching the wall first in a time of 2:23,97.

South Africa’s Marco Husselmann got the silver medal after finishing in 2:24,11 with his compatriot Marsden taking the bronze medal in 2:24,14.

The senior swimmers were using the event to register qualifying times for the Fina World Championships which take place in Shanghai, China, from July 19-23.

The presence of so many top swimmers did not intimidate the 16-year-old Lawson, who is no stranger to taking part in high-level competition despite his tender age.

Lawson emphatically announced his arrival in local swimming by winning two gold medals at the 8th Junior African Swimming Championships in Mauritius in the boys’ 12-14 years age group in 2009.

The, then 14-year-old St George’s College form two pupil also managed to set a new African junior record at the same event and since then he has never looked back.

Later this year, Lawson could be one of Zimbabwe medal prospects at the 10th All-Africa Games in Maputo in September.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe Aquatic Union secretary Mary Kloppers said they would soon conclude the team to represent the country at the Fina World Championships in China.

“Our top swimmer at the World Championships will definitely be Kirsty Coventry, but there are some other swimmers who are still working hard to post qualifying times for the event. Most swimmers will be keen to book a spot to Shanghai as it is the platform for the bigger stage of the 2012 Olympic Games in London next year,” said Kloppers.