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Swimmers get scholarships

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Malawi Aquatic Union (Mau) has secured scholarships for its two top swimmers in Phuket, Thailand, to prepare them for this year’s World Swimming Championship in Guangzhou, China.

Ammara Pinto and Felipe Gomez are Malawi’s best swimmers with the fastest finishing times.

Mau President, Willie Tafatatha, said the union asked for the scholarships from world swimming governing body, Fina, to help the two improve their finishing times ahead of the global event in December.

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However, Tafatatha said only Pinto has travelled to Thailand while Gomez is pre-occupied with studies in Portugal.

“But he [Gomez] has a coach who trains him in Portugal. Otherwise Fina had arranged to have both swimmers in Bangkok,” he said.

Tafatatha said local swimmers do not train in winter as Malawi does not have heated swimming pools, hence the need for the scholarship.

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“This is one of the factors that hinder the standards of the game in Malawi. We cannot train throughout the year. We break during winter while our counterparts in other countries train continuously because they have heated pools,” Tafatatha said.

National swimming Coach, Yona Walesi, said Pinto and Felipe have improved since moving to the two countries.

“Ammara’s only problem is in short distances. Otherwise, she has improved so much in long distances. Felipe is also doing far much better in long and short distances and I am very impressed,” Walesi said.

Malawi hosted the Zone IV Swimming Championship last weekend at African Bible College in Lilongwe where 32 local swimmers came seventh after scooping 13 medals.

Gomez was the star of Team Malawi with four gold medals and one silver. He clocked 23.23 seconds against the international standard of 23.08 in 50 metres freestyle.

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