By Freeman Makopa
Zimbabwe’s top junior swimmer, Peter Wetzlar, impressed at the junior swimming world championships held in Gwangju, South Korea, with the young swimmer producing a sterling performance and breaking two national records in the process.
Wetzlar broke the national record, which had stood since 2016 in the 100 metres freestyle event with a time of 50.50 seconds. The previous record stood at 50.87 seconds.
He also set the new national record in the 50m freestyle event with a time of 22.77 seconds, improving the 22.87 seconds time that was set in November last
The United States based star was ranked 44th out of 133 in the 50m event, and 56 out of 119 in the 100m event.
The other Zimbabwe athletes did not have the best of results at the championships, but their performance still impressed Zimbabwe Aquatic Union president Mary Kloppers.
“Overall, I am happy with their performances. Jet lag was a problem, I believe. Peter Wetzlar was our star, breaking two national records and is our biggest
Olympic chance. We would like to acknowledge the assistance and financial support received from the Zimbabwe Olympic committee through the IOC. This has
assisted Peter to train at a very good university in the United States, which has contributed to his success thus far,” Kloppers said.
Robyn Lee competed in two events, the 100m butterfly and 100m backstroke in a time of 1.07.63 minutes and 1.06.96 minutes, respectively.
“Her results are not great, but she is still recovering from an arm break. She is very disappointed as she had been doing better in America.”
Liam Davis managed 1.05.39 minutes in the 100m breaststroke race to finish 65 out of 87.
Paige Van Der Westhuizen clocked 2.11.36 seconds in the 200 freestyle event and was on position 45 out of 61.
Kloppers said the team will start to prepare for the African Games in Morocco to be held later this year.
“Thereafter, it will be intensive training and participation at smaller qualifying events all over the world,” she said
Team Coach Debbie Wetzlar also commended the team’s efforts and added that the tournament proved useful in their preparation towards next year’s Olympics,
which will be held in Tokyo.
“Nerves and being at a World swimming Championship meet can be quite overwhelming, so experience and exposure was one of the main purpose of attending these
games. We are now focusing on other competitions such as the All Africa is in Morocco from August 20-24, Junior World Championships are in Budapest and Junior
African Championships in Tunisia this September,” Wetzlar added.