WHICH song goes through Donata Katai’s mind when she swims?
She won gold last week for Zimbabwe at the African Junior Swimming Championships in Tunisia in the 100m backstroke.
@UKinZimbabwe spoke to her:
Tell us a bit about yourself
My name is Donata Katai, I’m 15 years old. I go to Gateway High School and train with the Sharks Club under the guidance of coach Kathy Lobb.
When did you realise swimming was the sport you were good at?
It was in Grade Three when I broke my first record at the inter-house competitions.
How do you prepare yourself for a big race?
I imagine the race from start to finish and go through all the emotions I would go through on the day. I rehearse the whole event in my mind. I eat a meal with lots of carbs, sleep and dream about my race.
What does winning gold mean for you?
It justifies that I am a fast swimmer. I knew I was a fast swimmer in Southern Africa, but to win gold at a competition with all the best swimmers in Africa is even better.
At what point in the pool did you realise you were leading?
It was towards the very end when I took a naughty little peek to see.
What goes through your mind during a race?
It is funny to think about it. It’s usually the last song I would have listened to, but just one line on repeat.
What is your biggest dream?
My biggest dream is to win gold at the Olympics.
What can you say are the challenges you face?
Trying to balance swimming and school has been quite a challenge because studying after practise is hard. It is a challenge girls of my age face especially if you do more than one sport. It’s difficult to be great at your main sport and keep the others going.
Does it bother you when people compare you to Kirsty Coventry (Olympic gold medallist and Zimbabwe’s Sports Minister)?
It doesn’t really bother me because Kirsty is a great person, it shows all my hard work is paying off. But when I look at her achievements I feel a little pressure.