Ellina Mhlanga Harare Bureau
ZIMBABWE is expected to have three athletes competing in the upcoming Fina World Championships starting this week in Kazan, Russia. The competition is scheduled to run from tomorrow to August 9 with approximately 2,500 athletes from 186 countries taking part. Zimbabwe will be represented by swimming sensation Kirsty Coventry, James Lawson and Sean Gunn.
Coventry qualified for the event with an A standard qualification while Lawson and Gunn qualified with a B standard.
Coventry and Gunn are flying from the United States to Russia and will be joined by Lawson, who is based in Pretoria, South Africa.
Zimbabwe Swimming Board of Control vice chairperson, Tracey Doorman, confirmed yesterday that they have a team of three swimmers representing the nation at the championships and they are already on their way to Russia.
“We’ve three athletes participating — Kirsty Coventry, Sean Gunn and James Lawson. The team is definitely on their way to Russia. Lorna Riley is the team manager and coach.
“Mary Kloppers also went but she will also be attending the Fina meetings to be held prior to the competition.
“James is leaving from South Africa, Kirsty and Sean are leaving from America,” said Doorman.
Doorman said they were optimistic the team would do well with the limelight falling on Coventry.
The four-time Olympian qualified for the World Championships in April when she came first in the 200m backstroke in 12:12:05 at the Arena Pro Swim Series in Arizona.
She went on to finish second in the 100m backstroke in 1:00:9 also a World Championships qualifying time.
“Obviously we’re expecting medals. Kirsty has qualified with an A standard qualifying time, so she is in track for medals based on her training.
“Sean and James qualified with a B standard and we’re hoping they make it to the semi-finals. We’re not expecting medals (from them) but you never know and it also depends on who will be there,” said Doorman.
Coventry has been in the United States since last year preparing for the 2016 Olympic Games to be staged in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.