Front Crawl Swim Breathing Photo by Pete Wright on Unsplash
Front Crawl Swim Breathing Photo by Pete Wright on Unsplash

The 2020 CANA Zone IV Swimming Championships got underway at the University of Botswana Swimming Pool in Gaborone today with Zimbabwe topping the medal podium, followed closely by Namibia, Mozambique and South Africa.

In the men’s 15-24 age group 800m freestyle, Botswana’s James Freeman (18) was fast off the block to win in 8:39.05, over 17secs ahead of Botswana’s Andile Bekker (16) in 8:56.88 and SeychellesDamien Payet (16) in 9:08.18, while Namibia’s Oliver Ohm (14) won the U14 race in 9:46.48, followed by Mozambique’s Kaio Faftine (13) in 9:49.20 and SA’s Leson Visagie (14) in 9:50.83.

Freeman also went on to win a bronze medal in the 100m backstroke in 1:04.21 behind Zimbabwe’s Denilson Cyprianos (17) in 1:00.30 and Seychelles’ Tyler Fred (17) in 1:03.12, while Bekker went one better in the 100m backstroke, winning the race in 1:02.17, followed by Namibia’s Mikah Burger (15) in 1:02.89 and MauritiusVictor Ah Yong (15) in 1:03.12.

The ladies’ U14 800m freestyle saw the South African duo of Emma Beyers (14) and Tiara Finnis (14) win the gold and silver in 10:10.03 and 10:14.75, respectively, with the bronze going to Zimbabwe’s Mkhuseli Mahobele (14) in 10:26.10, while in the 15-24 category, it was Namibia’s Heleni Stergiadis (17) that took the top spot in 9:38.98 ahead of SA’s Danica van Jaarsveld (16) in 9:54.85 and Botswana’s Maxine Egner (15) in 10:06.61.

Stergiadis was over the moon with her second gold medal, this time in the 100m backstroke in 1:08.60 ahead of Namibia’s Vicky Botha (18) in 1:11.86 and Eswatini’s Robyn Young (19) in 1:14.01, while Madagascar’s Idealy Tendrinavalona (15) won the 15-16 age group in 1:08.02 followed by Zambia’s Mia Phiri (16) in 1:09.08 and Namibia’s Tiana Esslinger (16) in 1:09.37.

In the U12 100m backstroke, Namibia’s Oliver Durand (12) came in first with a time of 1:10.78 ahead of Zimbabwe’s Kyle Heyns (12) in 1:16.02 and teammate Kgosana Hekandjo (12) in 1:16.30, while Durand also claimed the silver in the 50m breaststroke in 36.80 behind Zimbabwe’s Khaya Vimba (12) in 36.07 and ahead of the Seychelles’ Alexander Payet (12) in 37.04.

Mozambique’s Caio Lobo (14) posted winning times in the 50m breaststroke and the 100m backstroke in 32.84 and 1:06.84, respectively, while the silver and bronze in the breaststroke went to SA’s Clayton Thompson (14) in 33.34 and Seychelles’ Nathan Nagapin (14) in 33.59 with the backstroke second and third place going to SA’s Visagie (14) in 1:09.75 and Mozambique’s Kaio Faftine (13) in 1:10.50.

The medal podium in the girls’ U12 50m breaststroke comprised of Mauritius’ Alina Muslun (12) in 38.55, Botswana’s Ji-eun Chang (12) in 38.88 and Namibia’s Ariana Naukosho (12) in 38.96, while the U12 100m backstroke medals went to Seychelles’ Isabelle Labuschagne (12) in 1:15.60, Namibia’s Reza Westerduin (12) in 1:15.82 and Namibia’s Ariana Naukosho (12) in 1:16.05.

Zimbabwe’s Timea Schultz (14) and Saira Ramajan (14) won the gold and silver in the 13-14 100m backstroke in 1:09.56 and 1:14.24, with the bronze medal going to SA’s Clio Smidt (13) in 1:14.24, while Zimbabwe did not stop there, as Nomvula Mjimba (17) claimed the gold in the 17-24 50m breaststroke in 36.09 ahead of Botswana’s Ruvarashe Gondo (17) in 36.57 and Angola’s Maria Lopes Freitas (22) in 37.84.

South Africa’s Ingrid Banza (14), Zimbabwe’s Vhenekai Dhemba (13) and Namibia’s Maya Stange (14) made up the top three places in the 13-14 50m breaststroke in 36.66, 36.88 and 37.28, while the 15-16 gold, silver and bronze went to Mauritius’ Alicia Kok Shun (15), Uganda’s Kirabo Namutebi (15) and Zimbabwe’s Paige van der Westhuizen (16) in 34.22, 34.40 and 34.51, respectively.

The men’s 15-16 50m breaststroke was won by Mozambique’s Matthew Lawrence (16) in 30.27 ahead of Seychelles’ Joshua Miller (15) in 31.17 and Zimbabwe’s Cory Werrett (15) in 31.62, while the 17-24 category race was topped by Malawi’s Filipe Gomes (22) in 30.25 followed by Seychelles’ Mathieu Bachmann (23) in 30.42 and Zambia’s Ralph Goveia (23) in 30.64

In the 4 x 50m medley relay, Zimbabwe won the gold medal in 1:50.39, followed by Botswana in 1:51.33 and the Seychelles in 1:51.79.

In the Masters section of the Championships, the team from Botswana led the way with a total of six gold, five silver and one bronze medal during the opening day of the competition.

Bontsi Morewane (37), Alma Saat (46), Omphile Moffat (27) and Lawrence Gachala (49) won their respective 800m freestyle events in 17:17.31, 12:22.85, 14:27.14 and 16:16.43, while Owen Caple (49) scooped the 50m breaststroke title in 40.06 and Molemi Matshediso (45) the 100m backstroke in 1:49.72.

Gachala also won a silver medal in the 50m breaststroke in 45.47, with the other four silver medals going to Urmas Saat (56) in 17:13.54 in the 800m freestyle, Bontsi Morewane (37) in 50.23 in the 50m breaststroke, Boitumelo Baleseng (39) in 39.57 in the 50m breaststroke and Brenda Gerber (52) in 1:58.36 in the 100m backstroke.

Botswana’s one bronze medal was won by Brenda Gerber (52) in 49.05 in the 50m breaststroke.

Zambia topped the medal podium on three occasions, with Sophie Peach (32) clocking 49.66 and Fred Mwanza (31) touching the wall in 36.64 in the 50m breaststroke and Tonia Weltin (49) in 1:40.27 in the 100m backstroke, while Mozambique’s Ana Araujo (51) won the Over 45 category in 46.91 in the breaststroke and Namibia’s Dentie Louw (36) the 25-44 100m backstroke in 1:18.12.

The competition continues tomorrow with the morning session starting at 09h00, while the afternoon finals will begin at 15h00.

Medal rankings (after day 1):

CountryGoldSilverBronzeTotal
Zimbabwe53311
Namibia44513
Mozambique3115
South Africa2428
Botswana2428
Mauritius2013
Seychelles1348
Malawi1001
Madagascar1001
Zambia0112
Uganda0101
Angola0011
Eswatini0011

Masters Medal rankings (after Day 01):

CountryGoldSilverBronzeTotal
Botswana65213
Zambia3115
Mozambique1001
Namibia1001
South Africa0011
Malawi0011
Uganda0011