THE recent makeover over of Mutare’s Main Bath Swimming Pool could be what the doctor prescribed for a sport that was on a nosedive due to a plethora of challenges, chief among them derelict facilities and the Covid-19 induced inactivity.
Swimming, just like any other sport has suffered a major setback due to the lengthy layoff induced by the Covid-19 pandemic in the past two years, but things have also not been rosy for the sport in Manicaland Province, given the dilapidated public facilities in different towns, let alone the absence of community clubs.
Even stakeholders in the sport are happy with the seriousness the local authority and Border Dolphins Club are showing towards sprucing up swimming facilities in the city.
Anne White, the Gala Convenor for Manicaland, said: “It is encouraging to note that the Main Bath Swimming Pool is in a very good condition as it is being maintained by the local swimming club, Border Dolphins, while City of Mutare provide the wages or manpower, electricity and water.”
She said schools are also picking up their pace in swimming pool renovations.
“A number of schools, especially Government institutions, have excellent swimming pools which they are starting to use again. This points to a positive direction as far as the development of the sport is concerned,” she said.
City of Mutare spokesperson, Spren Mutiwi said although they have covered considerable ground in renovating Main Bath Swimming Pool, more efforts are being done to ensure that everything that is required is in place.
“The facility has been repainted. It is not yet complete, but we are happy with the progress made so far. We also want to recruit more life savers so that we have adequate personnel to provide the necessary safety measures,” said Mutiwi.
Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) Manicaland provincial coordinator, Shupikai Berejena applauded the local authority for renovating the Main Bath Swimming Pool, saying it is a step in the right direction.
“The renovations at Main Bath Swimming Pool are a step in the right direction. It is good for sports and recreation. In fact, it is a development that is in line with the National Development Strategy (NDS1) thematic area on Youth, Sport and Culture.
“This will undoubtedly lead to increased mass participation in sport and recreation. In the same breadth, we are happy that it ensures that no one is left behind,” said Berejena.
“Berejena was quick to highlight the need to do more in renovating other swimming facilities in Manicaland for the good of the sport and also as a weapon in the fight against the scourge of drug abuse.
“Conditions of most swimming pools have been dilapidating in recent years and some are in a sorry state. You can think of Rusape pool, Raylton here in Mutare as well Sakubva and also in Chipinge,” he said.
However, Mutiwi said the local authority is now shifting its focus to Sakubva Swimming Pool.
“Our focus now shifts to Sakubva Swimming Pool to carry out renovations and bring the facility back to use. We are currently assessing the extent of works to be carried out and the good thing is that the project is budgeted for in 2023 and once the assessment is completed, it will give us the scope and the timelines,” said Mutiwi.
In Chipinge, there is no longer any swimming pool to talk about after the two facilities in the small farming town are now rundown.