Botswana quartet prepares for World Championships

Botswana Swimming Association (BSA) has revealed that this country will be represented by  David Van Der Colff, Naomi Ruele, Andre van Der Merwe and Bonita Imsirovic at the World Swimming Championships in Russia. The swimming competitions are billed for 24 July to 9 August.

The four swimmers who are selected to represent Botswana were chosen looking at their FINA rates and timing. There are two males (Van der Colff and van Der Merwe) and a female duo of (Ruele and Imsirovic) will be the hope of Botswana inside the waters of Kazan, Russia.

BSSA Spokesperson Priscilla Parker told this publication on Monday that the four are training with their respective clubs. Van Der Merwe and Van der Colff are training at University of Pretoria in South Africa where they are based. Ruele is in Miami with University of Florida while Imsovic is a swimmer cum coach with local club, Darell Morton Club.

The three, excluding Van Der Colff, have just come back from a friendly gala in Mauritius. The swimming event was used as a preparatory phase for the All Africa Games coming in September which Van Der Colff would not be part of. Van der Colff is excluded from the team going to Congo because he is preparing for Commonwealth Games in Samoa. The dates of the two tournaments  are ‘clashing’ as they will both be on the same month of September.

The team did well in Mauritius friendly gala as it garnered 14 medals (5 golds, 5 silvers and 4 bronze),  Team Botswana won the tournament securing a time of  2.01.00. This should be a promising performance for the team that is going to Europe in July. Coach Darrell Morton’s charges will go to Russia fresh from victory and will be hoping to make Botswana proud.

The swimming quartet’s mentor Morton told Gazette Sport in an interview that the team will have another preparatory gala in July just before the World Championships. He said he is happy with the team’s performance at Mauritius.

“Although the four swimmers were swimming in their last best times in Mauritius, they have not yet reached their peak performance. They still need to go through the entire swimming training process before they can reach their good performances,” said Morton.

Morton explained that swimming requires a great deal of work. He said swimming needs more mileage and extra gym work before one can relax. During heavy training, the stage where the four swimmers are, muscles tend to be sore and heavy according to Morton. The swimming professional trainer said then the muscle will be allowed to relax so that the swimmer can be ready for a competition, after reaching a peak performance.

Coach Morton is one of the most qualified and successful trainers in the local swimming sport. He has coached the four athletes from a tender age while they were with his club The Gators and his swimming academy Darrell Morton Swimming School. He believes it is “much easier” to coach the four because he knows them very well.

Three years ago during the national swimming championships in the UB pool, Van der Merwe, Ruele and Van Der Colff were on song for Darrell Morton’s Gators which dominated the national gala. The trio were under the tutelage of none other than Morton. The three swimmers went to pursue their swimming careers abroad after those championships.

“It is a psychological and technical advantage to coach the four. I know them when they are having a bad day or good one. And I believe they have a good foundation,” said Morton.

On the World Championships, the tournament where Botswana never reached the finals, Morton said “we should aim for the future and one goal at a time.” Morton wants a world record achievement but believes there is need for a stepping stone in order to reach his goal.

“The aim is for the swimmers to qualify for the Olympics and progress from the heats stages. We hope the team reaches the semifinals this time,” said Morton.