By Freeman Makopa
The Zimbabwe Aquatic Union (ZAU) is satisfied with the team to represent the country at CANA Zone IV Swimming Championships to be held in Windhoek , Namibia from February 16 to 20.
Over 450 athletes will be drawn from 12 Zone IV countries including Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Eswatini, Mozambique, Malawi, Mauritius, Seychelles, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe and the hosts.
ZAU president, Mary Kloppers told NewsDay Sport that they had put together a strong team and expectations are high that they will be successful.
“We have selected our best among the swimmers in Zimbabwe and we hope that these youngsters will make us proud since they were all eager to represent their country at this huge tournament.
“They have been training hard and this time around we are hopeful of our youngsters and we wish them the best,” she said.
Water polo technical director and ZAU vice-president, Rob Hammond said the water polo team was well geared for the event and they will be represented in both the boys and girls categories.
“We will send a strong water polo team, including both boys and girls. We have been preparing for the tournament for a while now and last weekend, we hosted a water polo national tournament at St Johns, which we used it to select the team. Over 580 students participated.
“We will also send a developmental team as we are focusing on recruiting young talent. We have started encouraging schools to take up water polo as a sport and we are looking forward to an increase in the numbers,” he said.
Hammond, however bemoaned poor infrastructure as a hindrance to the growth of the sport.
“We need to have high standard pools, because we have other pools that are not up to standard for the sport .
The championships will begin with swimming tomorrow followed by the open water events, while the water polo will start on February 18.
The competition is open to athletes aged 11 years and over and this year will also double as an official qualification event for the 18th FINA World Championships, which will be held in Gwangju, Korea from July 12 to 22 this year.