Zimbabwe swimming hopes  on mother, sons’ shoulders Nokuthula Cyprianos with her three sons

Innocent Kurira, [email protected]

THE Cyprianos family has made a name for itself in the Zimbabwean swimming community. The family has produced swimmers that have been making waves in the pool for years, breaking records and winning medals. But behind their success lies a story of pain, perseverance and passion.

In December 2020, the family suffered a devastating loss when Edmore Cyprianos, the father, coach and mentor of the three Cyprianos brothers, took his own life. He was found hanging on a tree in a bushy area at Lucydale Farm in Matobo on December 8. The late once chaired the Matabeleland Amateur Swimming Committee and who, along with his wife, Nokuthula, transformed the sport through their love and dedication.
Edmore was instrumental in his children’s success. Denilson, Andesious and Brendon are among the mainstays of Zimbabwean swimming and hold several national records for juniors and seniors. They have also earned scholarships to universities in America due to their swimming prowess. Their dream of becoming world-class swimmers and representing their country at the Olympics was nurtured by their father.

But the loss of their father did not stop them from pursuing their dream. Instead, they found strength and support in their mother, Nokuthula, who took over the responsibility to make sure that her children reach greater heights in the pool. Nokuthula has continued supporting her children despite losing her pillar of strength.

Three years after the death of Edmore, Nokuthula has not given up on the boys and has become their source of inspiration. She hopes to see them fly Zimbabwe’s flag high one day at the biggest stage, the Olympics.

Denilson Cyprianos

“I always take it one day at a time. It’s never easy losing your soul mate. It hasn’t been easy for my boys to lose not only their father but their coach and inspiration. We have been through a lot as a family all facing different challenges. The swimming world has not been kind as it seems it does not understand what we are going through. But by the Grace of God, three years on, we are still here moving and not giving up,” said Nokuthula.
She added that she has enjoyed every part of her amazing journey with the three boys.

“It’s been an amazing experience having sons that share the same passion with me. Whenever the boys are in Zimbabwe, they always share, teach and coach the swimmers in our club.

“My dream for the boys is that they motivate other swimmers to stay in the sport but my biggest dream is seeing one of my boys making it to the Olympics,” said Nokuthula.

Apart from being a super-mother to her three boys, Nokuthula also manages Stingrays Swimming Club, which has been the undisputed champion of Bulawayo for the past five years. She credits this to the support she receives from parents who understand that she has to balance running Cypriano Electrical and Stingrays.

“Managing Stingrays has been easy with the support I am receiving from the parents.

“They understand that I now run Cypriano Electrical hence  are coming in to assist me to run Stingrays. We are the undisputed champions of Bulawayo for the past five years. My deepest gratitude to the Stingrays Committee,” said Nokuthula.

She also offered a word of advice for women in the sport of swimming.

“Never be discouraged. Keep on trying. Challenges will always be there but don’t give up. This goes beyond swimming. As women we need to give over 100 percent to be recognised,” she said.

Nokuthula’s efforts have not gone unnoticed. Her son Denilson is part of the country’s team that will compete at the World Aquatic

Championships in Doha, Qatar. The championships are scheduled to start tomorrow until February 18. He will join Paige Van Der Westhuizen, a

United Kingdom (UK) University of Stirling swimmer and Robyn Lee, who is based in South Africa.

Zimbabwe Swimming revealed that Cyprianos and Westhuzien will represent the country in Qatar together with Liam Davis and Donata Katai. Cyprianos, who earned a swimming scholarship in USA’s Carson-Newman University in Jefferson City Tennessee in 2021, is going to carry the country’s hopes for glory in the 100m and 200m backstroke events. Davis will compete in the 200m breaststroke.

In the female category, Westhuizen will be involved in the 50m and 100m freestyle competitions with Katai taking part in 50m and 100m backstroke. Among those competing at the meet in Doha will be Olympian Duncan Scott, who won gold and bronze in relay events and individual silver at last year’s championships that were held in Japan.

Brendon Cyprianos

Westhuizen together with Benjamin Rorke and Liam’ O Hara represented the country at the World Aquatics Swimming World Cup in Budapest, Hungary.

Westhuizen posted a personal best in 100m freestyle when she completed the race in 59.20 seconds. Her entry time was 1.00.12. She also improved her times in the 50m freestyle and 200m compared to the entry times.

Four years ago, Cyprianos set a national backstroke record of 59.01 beating his record of 59.72 which he had achieved at the South Africa Junior Nationals in March 2019. He was then swimming in the 17 and over age group.

A few days ago, Cyprianos, a former Christian Brothers College (CBC) pupil, won the 400-yard individual medley and the 200 butterfly events, leading South Dakota State University men’s swimming and diving team on the final day of the Coyote Invite.

Cyprianos won the 400-yard medley in 4.8.92 before he claimed the 200 butterfly in 1.54.78. — @innocentskizoe

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