… As James Freeman snatches five medals – three gold
Botswana swimming junior national team performed exceptionally well at the Confederation Africaine De Natation Amateur Zone VI Junior Championships by winning 24 medals in Windhoek, Namibia.
Team Botswana scooped four gold, nine silver and 11 bronze medals to finish overall fourth out of 12 countries in a tournament that ran from February 16th to 20th.
Botswana was beaten by only hosts Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe who accumulated better points and medals to take away all podium positions. In the point system Botswana accumulated 1,501.50 throughout the competition. The team was also accompanied by a Masters Team which won 10 medals being two gold, five silver and three bronze medals which brings Team Botswana’s medal tally to 34.
However, the star of the team was James Freeman who won three gold medals from his five medals. Adrian Robinson was also in the fray winning one of Botswana’s gold medals in the junior team. According to Freeman, the competition was very tough looking at the fact that they did not have much time to acclimatise.
“It was one of the fastest competitions that I have been to so far but I am pleased with my performances and a little bit disappointed with other events but overall it was a great competition. The gala was held under tough conditions; the outside temperature was very hot while the pool was freezing and a high altitude. We were forced to adapt quickly in these conditions in order to perform to the best of our abilities which brought out our true characters,” said Freeman.
When asked about his next move following his great exploits at the tournament Freeman said, “I have a quite big year ahead of me. As my last year on the junior scene of swimming my main aim is to perform well as I can at the World Junior Championships in Hungary in August. Hopefully I will get close to the qualifying times of senior competitions like World Championships and Olympics,” he said.
Looking at the fact that Botswana sent a 24-member team to the event; the results are great since the team managed to bring home many medals under the leadership of Coach Craig Rouse. Initially when the team left its main target was to improve the times of swimmers and give exposure to the younger athletes who were making their debut at the international stage.
In an interview Rouse said the performance of the team was marvelous. “The team performed beyond expectations, considering the circumstances which were there. Firstly, the water temperature was too cold for expecting this kind of results. Also the altitude was 1650 meters above sea level when compared to Gaborone which means less oxygen in the air so swimmers were struggling to breathe at race pace. But we prevailed and I’m happy with the results,” said Rouse. The next edition of the tournament is scheduled for Gaborone in 2020 as Botswana will play the hosting role.