Brandon Moyo, Sports Reporter
BULAWAYO female swimmer Mbalenhle Jared was the star attraction at the Zimbabwe Senior National Championships which ended at Bulawayo’s City Pool yesterday.
Bulawayo and Harare who contributed most of the swimmers emerged as the top two best teams in both boys’ and girls’ events.
The five-day tournament was used to select teams that will represent Zimbabwe in the South Africa Senior Championships, South Africa Junior Championships and the Africa Aquatics Junior Swimming Championships.
The Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation, Kirsty Coventry attended the closing day of the tournament.
In the Under-12 section, Jared and Siqokoqela Mphoko II from Bulawayo were among the best in that age group. Jared finished with 111 points as she won gold in the 50m breaststroke, 100m breaststroke, 50m butterfly, 100m butterfly, 200m backstroke, 50m freestyle, 200m individual medley and then picked silver in 200m breaststroke, 50m backstroke, 100m backstroke and 200m freestyle.
She also scooped gold in relay 200m freestyle, relay 200m individual medley and then silver in the relay 400m freestyle as well as bronze in relay 400m individual medley.
In the 13 and 14 age group for girls, Harare’s Imlah Nyamhunga topped with 62 points while Bulawayo’s Nathan Chibva for boys amassed 114 points.
Susie Worsfold from Harare finished with 45 points in girls’ 15 and 16 age group while her male counterpart, Onesimus Ngwenya from Bulawayo picked 144 points in the boys’ side to top the charts. In women’s over 17 age group, Harare’s Tanatsirwa Chitsurura topped with 63 points while Bulawayo’s Jayden De Swart topped the boys’ charts with 99 points.
Harare dominated with the combined team scores as they amassed 2 833, 50 while Bulawayo had 2 204 points followed by Mashonaland Country Districts with 476 and Matabeleland South with 397, 50. Midlands finished with just 19 points.
However, Bulawayo had a better aggregate score than that of any other province as they finished on 34, 98 followed by Mashonaland Districts on 28 and Harare on 21, 63. The aggregate score was calculated after dividing the combined score with that of the number of swimmers that a province had.
Minister Coventry applauded Bulawayo for hosting the prestigious event.
“To the Bulawayo swimming family, to the Bulawayo Municipality and everyone who is looking after the pool, thank you very much for hosting us and having everyone here and holding very successful swimming nationals,” she said.
Minister Coventry said the tournament was a good start for the swimmers as they head into the new season and winter sports.
Swimming Zimbabwe Board chairperson Zanele Nkomazana said the tournament was a success despite disruptions caused by bad weather.
Male swimmers who made the shortlist for the 15th Africa Junior Swimming Championships to be held in South Sudan and their International Swimming Federation (FINA) points are Tichatonga Makaya (600), Tawanda Chisungo (589), Paul Mipikeni (585), Bjorn Mhlanga (579), De Swart (577), Liam Rumball (565), Ngwenya (556), Khaya Vimba (549), Kalipeng Limbikani (536), Nigel Madziyire (510), Andile Mhlope (510), Tawanda Jani (523), Stanley Mitchell (510) and Emmanuel Sibanda (500).
The female team is made up of Mikayla Makwabara (624), Tanatswa Chandiwana (582), Charlotte Martel (592), Tafadzwa Chandiwana (572), Matida Musere (563), Anje Van As (564), Olivia Accorsi (583), Tori Dawe (622), Taya Smythe (583), Onye Onovo (534), Taya Gray (534), Susie Worsford (529), Rachael Njowola (529) and Vhenekai Dhemba (513).
The final team selection will done after the CANA Zone IV Championships. – @brandon_malvin.