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Future stars brave the cold in Pimville

As part of SSA’s Talent Identification and Development Programme Central Gauteng Aquatics (CGA) recently organised a week-long winter training camp in Soweto.

It turned out to be one of the coldest weeks yet on the Highveld but despite the freezing temperatures there was no stopping the enthusiasm and determination of the young swimmers and their coaches and the Pimville indoor heated facility lived up to its potential as the hub of development in Soweto.

A total of 60 swimmers — 48 from Soweto and 12 from Coronationville — enrolled for the camp which was aimed at improving the young athletes’ times, strengthening their training regimes and developing more efficient strokes.

In the past season Soweto aquatics did not achieve any medals on any national level, but a concerted effort is now being launched to keep a training schedule during the winter months and to keep the heated Pimville facility operating during winter.

Two Level 2 coaches, Sibusiso Phungwayo and Ramon Couthiers, were also specifically tasked with developing the Soweto and Coronationville youngsters as part of the programme.

The camp focused not only on swimming, but also on dry-land training as well as a life skills and motivational programme. Each training day was divided into three sessions with the three groups rotating between the pool, the class room and the sports field.

Two elite South African swimmers, Mandy Loots and Garth Tune also rendered their services both as coaches and as motivational swimming personalities to encourage the kids to greater heights in the coming season and to develop an understanding of what it takes to be a national swimmer. The camp ended with a recreational gala to which the parents of the young swimmers were also invited.

Mandy Loots said she was overwhelmed by the unprecedented eagerness of the young swimmers to learn and had a wonderful time coaching kids who were unbelievably enthusiastic and never complained despite the freezing outside temperatures.