Zimbabwe has named four swimmers who will travel to the 2022 FINA Short Course World Championships that will be held in Melbourne, Australia next month.
Olympian Donata Katai headlines the team which was announced by the Zimbabwe Aquatic Union in a statement on Thursday.
The other members of the team are US-based Nomvula Mjimba Liam Davis, who is based in England and Liam O’Hara, who represents Tuks Swimming Club in Pretoria, South Africa.
Veteran coach Masi Takaedza will be the accompanying coach during the tour as the team manager.
Katai is set to compete in the 50m and 100m backstroke race, Mjimba in 50m and 100m freestyle, Davis in 200m backstroke and O’Hara will be up for the 100m breaststroke and 200m individual medley.
“All the athletes are working hard and training regularly in preparation for the championships. They will be competing in different competitions this month where we hope to gauge how the preparations have been. We are getting periodic reports on training and all preparations,” said Takaedza.
Going into the competition, Takaedza believes the main target remains on improving times and also bettering their skills.
“For every competition we take part in, the goal is always to do better than your previous performance and therefore we hope for new personal best times. Anything over and above will be a welcome bonus,” he said.
“With more experience at this level, our swimmers are getting better tactically. They are racing better and know what is expected at this level at approaching races despite not so much of good results on this tour, the future is bright for Zimbabwe swimming.
“At the previous championships, we noticed maturity in the way the athletes approached races. Race tactics have improved a lot. Over and above all, our athletes now know what is expected of them at this level of the competition and will not be overwhelmed by the competition.”
The 16th FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) will be held at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre (MSAC) from December 13-18.
The Championships will be staged over six days with heats in the morning sessions and the semi-finals and finals in the evening session.
The trio of Mjimba, Davis and Katai will be representing the country in their second FINA event this year after taking part at the 19th FINA World Championships in Hungary five months ago.
The trio put on a good show as they set personal best times in their respective events.
The team’s fourth member at the global swimming meet Denilson Cyprianos was, however, forced to withdraw from the competition because of an injury. He was scheduled to compete in the 100m backstroke and 200m backstroke.
The Zimbabwean swimmers recently received IOC Olympic Solidarity Scholarships to boost their hopes of meeting the qualifying standards for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.
Katai made her maiden appearance at the rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games last year where she set a personal best time in the 100m backstroke.