The Junior swim team of Ghana represented the nation in the just ended Africa Zone 2 Swimming Championship hosted in Lagos, coming out of the event with an impressive 27 medals in total with 12 gold medals and medal counts of 9 and 6 for silver and bronze respectively.
The competition took place between the 27th and the 29th of October this year and featured swimmers from over 15 Western African nations in two age divisions namely the G1, (13-14yrs) and G2
Coach Kojo Jackson and his team finished the competition second, behind hosts Nigeria on the medal table. Aside from the 27 individual and team medals, the competition’s best male and female swimmer awards for the G1 division were presented to Kow Asafua Jackson and Maayaa Ayawere respectively with both of them picking up 4 gold and 3 silver medals apiece.
In the G1 50m boys’ breast stroke, Kow Asafua Jackson won the silver medal and Nii Kotei Armah came out third with a bronze medal. Nii Kotei also participated in and won bronze for the G1 100m boys’ butterfly while Kow Jackson put in a gold medal performance in the 100m boys’ freestyle. In the girls’ 50m breast stroke, Maayaa Ayewere won gold to add to her individual tally of 4 gold medals.
To complement their individual achievements, the team also worked well together to win gold in the G1 4x50 medley relay and silver in the G2 4x100 mixed relay. To cap it off, some of the swimmers made a mark on the competition by breaking existing records and setting their own, a first step in imprinting their legacy on the international stage. Team captain, Kow Jackson set new records in 3 events with Maayaa Ayewere and Papa-Yaw Poku-Dwumoh also getting their names in the West African Zone 2 record books.
Speaking with the team coach, Kojo Jackson, he mentioned that funding and an intense selection process were two main reasons the Ghanaian junior swim team went to the event with 8 swimmers out of a possible 23. The coach also discussed the importance of self-improvement and dedication for the young athletes stating that “At each training session, at each competition, the focus [for the young swimmers] is ‘improve my time’, and one day I will become a medal winner”