BY MAGRETH RUZVIDZO ZIMBABWE teenage swimming sensation Donata Katai yesterday missed out on the 50-metre backstroke semi-finals despite improving on her personal best, finishing nine in her heat in a time of 29.81 seconds at the ongoing Fina World Championships in Budapest, Hungary.
She was placed on 25 overall position out of 39 swimmers in that category.
Her previous best time was 30.17 second.
In the 200m backstroke event on Sunday, she finished tenth in a time of 1 minute 4.80 seconds and was placed on number 33 out of 43 swimmers from five heats.
Katai failed to improve from her entry time of 1 minute 02.73 seconds, a personal best time she recorded last year at the Tokyo Olympics.
Yesterday’s event was her last act at the Championships, and today Nomvula Mjiba will compete in the 100m freestyle event while Liam Davis will participate in the 200m breaststroke this morning.
Last year, Katai made headlines after she became the first black swimmer to represent Zimbabwe at the Olympics where she managed to record her 100m backstroke personal best time after coming out first in her heat.
Team coach Masi Takaedza was impressed by Katai’s performance although she failed to go beyond the first round.
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“We are happy with this performance. It is a personal best time, you can’t ask for more,” Takaedza said.
“We hope tomorrow (today) Liam and Nomvula will also get their personal best times. We have been training every day in preparation, we’ll see how it goes,” Takaedza said.
Takaedza said local swimmers face a challenge particularly in winter where there are limited heated pools.
He said that the siwmmers need more time in the pool.
“We wish we have more hours in the day, we need to continue training. We always have problems in winter due to the fact that there are few heated pools in the country. It’s very expensive to train throughout the year which is what we need at this level,” he said.
Zimbabwe is now being represented by three swimmers after Denilson Cyprianos pulled out due to an injury. The team’s last competition is on Friday where Mjimba will take part in the 50m freestyle event.
- Follow Magreth on Twitter@MagrethRuzvidzo