Fitchlea hosts Midlands’s schools gala

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Kwekwe’s Fitchlea Primary school will host the Midlands province top swimming schools for the Charles Pasi invitational inter-schools swimming gala on Friday.

by STAFF REPORTER

The annual event, which seeks to provide young swimmers with a platform to launch their careers in the sport, attracts schools from mainly Gweru, Zvishavane and Kwekwe.

Among the top swimming schools in the province are Shabanie Primary from Zvishavane, Cecil John Rhodes, Lundi Park and Stanley Primary all from Gweru as well as the hosts in the eight-school gala.

Fitchlea Primary School headmaster, Douglas Kunze said swimming is considered an elite sport because of the expenses in maintaining swimming pools and that notion has hindered the development of the sport.

“Pools are considered a luxury and an expense and have been allowed to go down at most institutions,” he said. “Those that never had the pools have not bothered to construct them, thereby threatening the sport. Parents at this school have, however, understood the importance of swimming and have ensured that we maintain the pool and nurture swimming talent.

Swimming officials watch as swimmers dive into the pool as they took part in Mashonaland junior swimming competition held at St Johns school
Swimming officials watch as swimmers dive into the pool

Primary schools in the Midlands produce good swimmers, but some of the talent is lost at secondary level, where most schools have failed to maintain sporting infrastructure owing to the challenging economic environment.

Ahead of the Charles Pasi Gala, swimming coach, Chamunorwa Marunya said the collapse of public swimming facilities, like the Kwekwe City council owned swimming pool, hindered development of the sport.

“We are excited about this inter-schools gala, but again I am more worried about the lack of a centre of excellence, which will continue to nurture talent that would have been identified at schools. Most of the talent that is youngsters are lost to the sport once they leave primary school and go to schools that don’t have facilities,” he said.

Fitchlea has nurtured swimmers from the tender age of six when they enroll for grade one. Currently the youngest swimmer to make the school team is Lorraine Mhlanga, who became part of the team at the age of seven last year.