Brandon Moyo, Sports Reporter
AT just the age of 12, a young Bulawayo boy took up swimming to lose weight, little did he know that a few years down the line he would become one of the city’s rising stars in the pool.
Sibusiso Fayayo, a Masiyephambili Junior School student has become one of the best swimmers in the City of Kings and Queens in his age group.
Fayayo’s move to lose weight through swimming is backed by studies that have proven that swimming is an efficient way to burn calories and is classified as a total body workout as the entire body takes part in it.
The young Fayayo, inspired by the American swimmer Michael Phelps, said he hopes to continue with his impressive way and get a scholarship to the United States of America (USA) where he will further his swimming and educational careers.
Not only does his sporting career revolve around the pool, but Fayayo also plays rugby.
Swimming, however, is still his favourite sport.
“At first, I started swimming as a means to lose weight and my goal as a swimmer is to get a scholarship to a university in the US and maybe attend the Olympics. Swimming is my favourite sport and considering the amount of effort that I put in, I would say the most difficult is also swimming,” said Fayayo.
Fayayo, through his exceptional talents and skill, has been awarded several leadership roles.
He is the junior captain of his club, Stingrays Swimming Academy, Bulawayo Amateur Swimming Association (BASA) and Masiyephambili Swimming team.
He is also the head boy at his school.
The young swimmer was a runner-up twice in the national and provincial under-nine boys’ competitions in 2019. The following year he won both the provincial and national 10-year-old boys’ events and also followed it up with another regional win in the 11-year-old boys’ event in 2021.
Last year, he won the 12-year-olds’ junior national and provincial championships before also scooping the same accolades in the senior national championships.
Fayayo has won over 50 medals, both at the provincial and national level at just the age of 12.
He said he would have achieved a lot by now, had it not been for the setback brought by Covid-19.
The young swimmer promises to continue with his fine run going forward.
“Covid-19 caused an abrupt stop to my training so when I started back up I had to start from zero so all the endurance I gained throughout the years before Covid-19 had been lost. Going forward you can expect gold medals and records,” he said.
Being a winner and champion at a young age, Fayayo said it was scary at first because he feared having fake friends due to his talents and achievements but went on to learn that it was not like that at all and believes being a BASA captain trained him for other leadership roles.
“Being BASA junior boys’ captain trained me so I had experience and it helped me with a few of my experiences that I had,” he said.
Not only has he been competing in Zimbabwe but the young swimmer has also plied his trade outside the country where he took part in a South Africa Level Three event and reached four finals. He also participated in last year’s Hamilton Aquatics Summer Sizzler in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and got to four finals.
At 10 years old, he held the 100-metre butterfly record at both provincial and national levels. On the rugby field, the young man was selected for the Matabeleland Under-13 team and represented the province at Lomagundi in July 2022. The side finished as runner-ups in the tournament.
In the recently ended Zimbabwe Senior Swimming Championships, Fayayo was one of the Bulawayo athletes that shined at the event when the province, in total points received, finished in second position behind Harare but had a better aggregate score than that of the capital side as Harare had twice the athletes that Bulawayo had.
Fayayo’s talent does not only end in the field or the pool but also extends to the academic side of things. He has impressive Cambridge Primary Checkpoint scores.–@brandon_malvin