Kenyan swimmers Talisa Lanoe and Sylvia Brunlehner have set their sights on booking tickets to the London Olympics after their credible performance in the Africa Zone Five and Six Championships in Maputo, Mozambique.
The two teenage swimmers believe they can go all the way and bring a medal to Kenya if they manage to make it to the games.
Brunhelner won five gold medals, a silver and bronze in the Maputo championships where 23 national records were broken as the 25 members of the Kenyan team went ahead to claim 53 medals, the best performance ever by a national swimming team, according to coach Fakri Mansoul.
Lanoe won two gold medals and a bronze, with Anita Field bringing home one gold, four silver and three bronze medals. Graham Walker clinched two silver and two bronze medals.
Lanoe happy with performance
“I am very happy with my performance. Now I have to work hard and improve my timings so that I can make it to the Olympics. The general performance of the team has showed that Kenya is among the top in Africa and we have to keep on improving,” said Lanoe.
“It is my belief that if I can manage an Olympic ticket, I can go all the way to bring a medal to Kenya. That will be very exciting,” she added.
Brunlehner who has been improving with time said she wants to enter more local and international competitions so as to gain more experience.
“It takes a lot of practice and competition to be at the top. But I am impressed by the way some young boys and girls who were competing out of the country for the first time performed,” said Brunlehner.
“I just pray that I maintain a better performance and get a chance to the Olympics.”
Team aims higher
The team coach said despite challenges, members of the team were out to prove themselves, saying his attention now is on the Olympics.
“We need to ensure we get more tickets. Jason (Dunford) has qualified but we know we can push Lanoe and Brunhelner to London,’’ said the coach.
Jason and his brother David have already booked their tickets to the Olympic games. Team manager Carol Nzioki was equally elated at the prospects.
“This is by far our best performance,’’ she said.
Kenya Swimming Federation chairman, Ben Ekumbo, said they will build from the performance in Mozambique. Kenya hosts the Africa championships in September.
At the same time, five-time Olympic champion Ian Thorpe says he has no regrets despite failing to qualify for London 2012.
Thorpe needed to make the top 16 in the 100m freestyle to reach the semi-finals of the qualifiers but finished 21st with a time of 50.35 seconds.
On Thursday, the 29-year-old also failed to make the 200m freestyle final, finishing 12th-fastest in the semis.
Thorpe, who came out of retirement last year, had struggled to post competitive times since returning to the pool.