WATER BORNE: Swimmers taking to the water

Schools in both the northern and southern parts of the country held their 21st year of swimming tournament at Clifton school in Francistown. 
Thirteen schools participated and among the competitors were 12 national team swimmers and the Southern team won the tournament beating their northern opponents 704.5 to 649.5 points.
The main sponsors for the competitions were Spar, Stanbic Bank and Clover.
Juan Milne of Matshwane School in Maun set new records of 1’20.69 in individual Medley, 36.59 Backstroke and 32.56 Freestyle in under 11 category. in relay competitions, the Northern team broke a record in under 11 Mixed Medley Relay, under 12 Mixed Medley relay and southern broke the record in under 8 Mixed Freestyle relay, under 11 Mixed Freestyle relay and under 12 Mixed Freestyle relay.

Speaking after the competitions, the organizer of the tournament Valerie Ives said swimming was not just a sport but a life skill. She said she had been impressed by the number of swimmers as it increases every year which, she said, indicated the growing interest in the sport.
“There are so many incidents where people drown in rivers and the swimming sport can help us overcome such cases. The tournament this year was very tight looking at the final results which shows the margin was not that big, it just differed in seconds. The southern team has good junior swimmers, that have helped them to dominate the north. I am happy there is an opportunity for local swimmers because a lot of them do well in these competitions,” Ives said.
Ives went on to say that the tournament was an opportunity to tap talent and groom players. She said about 12 players in the competition were in the national team and that they had been picked from past competitions.
She further said swimming was growing in popularity as the country won the annual Confederation of Africa Zone III and IV swimming competitions this year January. The only problem, she said, was shortage of facilities as it is expensive to keep and run them. She pleaded to Botswana Swimming Sport Association to establish swimming pools in government schools and also have experienced coaches to teach students swimming skills.

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