ZIMBABWE’S swimming sensation, Kirsty Coventry was at the weekend named the Female African Swimmer of the Year for 2015 by the well-respected United States-based swimming magazine, Swimming World after her impressive comeback to international competition this year.
BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
Coventry won the coveted award for a record eighth time in her career after edging Egypt’s Farida Osman, while South Africa’s Chad le Clos claimed his fourth straight Swimming World Male African Male Swimmer of the Year award.
“In a particularly difficult selection that featured neither of the two front-runners winning medals at this summer’s World Championships, Coventry edged Osman with more consistent top-two votes from the magazine’s panel of 14 voters,” Swimming World Magazine said on their official website.
“While Osman owned the advantage in first-place votes (eight to six), some voters ranked her further down their top-five lists than Coventry. Coventry, 32, led the African region in four events. As usual, she dominated the 50, 100 and 200 metre backstroke with times of 28.08, 1:00.09 and 2:10.01. She was nearly a second faster than her competition in the 50, two seconds in the 100 and three seconds in the 200. She also showed her versatility by turning in the region’s top time in the 200m (2:14.32)—nearly a second-and-a-half ahead of runner-up Marlies Ross from South Africa (2:15.71).”
Each year, Swimming World Magazine selects the top male and female swimmers for Africa, the Pacific Rim, Europe and America leading up to the announcement of the Male and Female World Swimmers of the Year on December 1.
Coventry, who has already qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, is also in the running for the two awards at the Annual National Sports Awards set for Harare on December 16.
The talented Zimbabwean swimmer is among the favourites to win the Sportsperson of the Year and SportsWoman of the Year awards.