Three athletes emerged stars of this year’s National Swimming Championships at African Bible College in Lilongwe over the weekend after breaking national records in their respective individual categories.
The three are nine-year-old Jeremiah Makwenda, Olivia Losacco (11) and Filipe Gomes, aged 22. Losacco had a memorable event as she scooped 12 gold medals and broke the national record in the 50 metres butterfly for female swimmers aged between 10 and 11.
Makwenda was also dominant as he broke two national records in the 50 metres freestyle and 100 metres backstroke to haul 10 medals in the 8-9 boys’ category.
After scooping an impressive seven medals at last month’s Cana Zone IV Swimming Championships in Gaborone, Botswana, Gomes proved just why he is the biggest name in the country’s swimming circles by amassing 16 gold medals.
Gomes came out first in the competition’s 14 individual events, with the other two top finishes coming from relay races. As if this was not enough, he went on to break two of his own records in the 50 metres and 200 metres butterfly events.
Three relay team records were also broken. National swimming Coach, Yona Walesi, praised the organisation and competitiveness of the event saying it inspired hope in Malawi’s ability to perform at big international events.
“Apart from individual swimmers breaking national records, we also had several records broken in the relay category. This is an indication of the progress the game is making in the country. All we have to do is build on such results to achieve greatness on the international scene,” Walesi said.
He said it was encouraging that the competition was growing in numbers and performance.
Malawi Aquatic Union President, Willie Tafatatha, commended swimming clubs for sending their athletes to the competition which had 269 swimmers.