The Sunday News
Ngqwele Dube, Sports Correspondent
HARARE continued their stranglehold on the combined team scores after day three of the ongoing National Swimming Championships at the City Pool with the women’s team maintaining their dominance as they almost doubled their points tally from day two.
At the end of day three, Harare had managed to attain 1 904 points with 1 146 of them coming from the women’s section while the Matabeleland women were a distant second with 399. However, on the men’s section Matabeleland assumed pole position with 879 points compared to Harare’s 682.
With 1 346 points on the combined team scores, Matabeleland were second while Mashonaland Country Districts were a distant third with 85 points while Manicaland had 32 and the Crocs anchored the standings with 28.
Harare’s female swimmers that dominated their respective age group included emerging stars, Donata Katai (16) and Paige van der Westhuizen (17) with Vhenekai Dhemba (14) and Tanatsirwa Chitsururu (14) winning most of the races they took part in while Matabeleland’s Rollo Riana (17) clinched several gold medals including the 100m breast stroke and 50m backstroke.
An interesting duel emerged in the boys 13 and 14 age section between Harare’s Paul Mwipikeni and Matabeleland’s Tichatonga Makaya as they battled for the top two positions with the former clinching the 100m freestyle (58,93 seconds), 200m freestyle (two minutes 14:44 seconds) and 100m butterfly (one minute 03:15 seconds) while the latter grabbed gold in the 50m backstroke in 32,36 seconds.
Strong showings from Liam O’Hara, Quintin Tayali, Denilson Cyprianos, Joash McKonie and Cory Werret ensured Matabeleland dominate the men’s section.
McKonie missed out on the 100m freestyle gold after he was adjudged to have made a false start with the first position being taken by Cyprianos in 54,59 seconds while Brett Jones clinched silver touching the pad in 55,64 seconds Harare’s Dylan Huang (55,71) was third in the men’s 17 and over age group.
Zimbabwe Swimming chairperson, Tracey Doorman said they were happy with the progress of the championships with several swimmers managing to get good times and set new personal bests.
She said while there could have been some records that would have been broken, they would only be able to verify days after the event.
“The championships have been well organised and everything is running smoothly considering we have 190 swimmers. Swimmers have been posting good times with some attaining personal bests and also meeting qualifying times for forthcoming events that include Level 2 and 3 galas and the African Senior Championships that are earmarked for Durban, South Africa in March,” said Doorman.
Matabeleland Amateur Swimming Board chairperson, Megan Nesbitt was optimistic the province will retain the aggregate trophy despite trailing Harare in the points board.
The National Swimming Championships started on Wednesday and end this morning.