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Swimming boss ready to lead from the back

CALISTUS KOLANTSHO
Back to front: Freeman is the new swimming boss PIC: PHATSIMO KAPENG
Botswana Swimming Sport Association (BSSA) affiliates met over the weekend where they injected some fresh blood into the executive committee.

New president, Andrew Freeman is a man on a mission and is not new to the ‘pools’ as he has been on the executive committee before.

Freeman was unopposed for the position that has been held by Ruth van der Merwe. Freeman was on the committee for the past six years under a different portfolio. He said he plans to look after what the previous committee has built.

“I do not want anything to slip so I was saying to some of the members and clubs that I am going to lead them from the back.

The clubs know what they want and the executive is there to serve them and we would be working on things they give us to do which is what they are hungry for. They are enthusiastic and COVID-19 has been hard on swimming and it would not be easy but clubs remain keen. We have an advantage because we have not had any COVID-19 related cases,” he said.

Freeman said that is an indication that swimming is a safe sport and that they could grow. Regarding the suspension of school sport, Freeman said it is a situation that they are dealing with.

He said it was unfortunate that a lot of facilities, especially swimming pools were in schools. He said it was a difficult situation but they had always informed the relevant stakeholders that BSSA does

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not have its own facilities.

“We often use the University of Botswana swimming pool and they are always ready to assist us. The time is now for us to have our own facility developed somewhere so that we stop relying on schools and gyms. If we could work towards that, even if it is not immediate but it should be done,” Freeman said.

He said they were on a roll after hosting the 2020 CANA Zone IV championship and it created a lot of interest. Freeman said the sport was growing and people were learning to swim. However, he said that was all lost due to the outbreak of COVID-19.

He said they are now fighting to take the sport back to the top. He said before they could think of moving forward, clubs should start training and hosting inter-club competitions.

 “My term is only two years but we need a year to take swimming back to where it was. We have big events scheduled but our first priority is to normalise things at the club level. You must realise that swimming is more than a sport, it is a lifestyle,” he said.

Freeman said there is need to create a channel for swimmers who have a potential. He said it is always easier to come up with a champion in an individual sport compared to a team sport.



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