ZIMBABWE’S swimming icon Kirsty Coventry believes that she has set the foundation for this year’s FINA World Championships when she posted B Standard qualifying times for this event during the three-day Arena Pro Swim Series at Austin in Texas, United States, at the weekend.
The 16th FINA World Championships will be held in Kazan, Russia, from July 24 to August 9. This is the first time that Russia will host this event.
And Zimbabwean swimming legend Coventry stepped up her preparations for this prestigious global event when she took part in the Arena Pro Swim Series in Texas last weekend where she competed in three events — the women’s 100 and 200m backstroke; and the 200m individual medley.
Coventry, who was making a comeback in the pool after a three-year “sabbatical” after having last competed competitively at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, looked a little bit rusty during the Texas meet where she failed to get any podium place in the three individual events that she took part in.
Although the 31-year-old two-time Olympic Games women’s 200m backstroke gold medalist failed to win any medal in the 100 and 200m backstroke; and the 200IM events in Texas at the weekend, she was impressed by her overall performance at this big international meet.
She also could not hide her excitement after she set three B Standard qualifying times for the 2015 FINA World Championships in these three individual events that she took part in.
In the 100m women’s backstroke event, Coventry clocked 1 minute 02.29 seconds before she stopped the clocks at 2:13.17 in her favourite stroke — the 200m backstroke.
She then posted a time of 2:15.89 in the 200IM on the last day of the competition on Saturday night.
And the Zimbabwean swimming star said from her base in Charlotte, North Carolina, yesterday that all these three times were good enough to qualify her for this year’s FINA World Championships in Russia.
“The foundation has been set. I am very happy with my times, they are all B qualifying times for the World Champs this year. Back to training — Stronger, Fitter, Faster,” Coventry wrote on her Facebook wall yesterday.
Coventry, making a come-back with American swimming club SwimMAC at 31 years old, first took ninth place in 2:14.67 on Friday morning in the women’s 200m backstroke, an event she won the Olympic gold at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics in Athens, Greece, and Beijing, China, respectively.
But she later “redeemed” herself when she won the B-final of the women’s 200 backstroke in 2:13.17 in her return to competition before she posted a time of 1:02.29 in the 100m backstroke swim.