Ngqwele Dube, Sports Correspondent
VICE President Phelekezela Mphoko is set to officially open the African Swimming Confederation (Cana) Zone IV at the City Pool in Bulawayo this morning.
Zimbabwe Aquatic Union president, Mary Kloppers, said all was set for the four-day event that ends of Sunday.
She said all participating countries arrived yesterday afternoon with the exception of Malawi which was expected last night.
Thirteen countries are taking part in the annual swimming and water polo championships.
Countries taking part in the regional meet include Angola, Botswana, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Zambia, Kenya and Tanzania.
Kenya and Tanzania are not part of Cana Zone IV, but are participating as guest countries.
Zimbabwe and South Africa are the only countries featuring in the water polo competition.
Kloppers said all was on course for the championships with registration formalities for most of the participants having been completed by yesterday.
She was confident Zimbabwe would emerge tops at the event.
Workers were putting final touches to the venue yesterday with the setting up of the stage to be used for the official opening while swimmers were having a feel of the pool.
There are 22 events lined up for today with the 800m freestyle in the 14 years and under and 15 years and above opening proceedings in the morning.
Other events scheduled for today include the backstroke, breaststroke and 200m relay.
Zimbabwe came third at the Cana Zone IV meet held in Mauritius last year.
The championships are an International Swimming Federation (Fina)-approved event and swimmers can achieve A and B Fina qualifying times for the 17th Fina World Championship set for Budapest, Hungary, later this year.
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Swimming Control Board has shown confidence in Brendon Cyprianos by naming him captain of the national side competing.
Cyprianos will lead the boys’ side, while Rutendo Maruta would head the girls’ team.
This is the third time Cyprianos has been given the leadership role after leading the Zimbabwe team at last year’s Cana championships held in Mauritius.
He also captained the national side during the African Union Sports Council Region 5 Youth Games held in Angola last December.
Zimbabwe has two teams made up of 70 swimmers at this year’s regional championships.
Cyprianos said he was looking forward to the challenge, adding that leading the national team at home would be both exciting and nerve wrecking.
“I am happy to be named captain once again and will do my best to lead the team. It is exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time to be leading the team at home in such a huge competition,” said Cyprianos.
“There are a lot of people who will be watching and expectations will be high, but I am ready to make my country proud. I think we will do well because we are at home and have prepared well for this event,” said the former Christian Brothers’ College (CBC) pupil.