National swimming champs not Olympic qualifiers

26 Feb 2016 18:50pm
WINDHOEK, 26 FEB (NAMPA) - The Bank Windhoek Namibia National Swimming Championships which started here on Thursday, are not Olympic qualifiers.
Sonia Lindemeier, mother and coach of swimmer Daniela Lindemeier, confirmed this to Nampa on Friday during a telephonic interview, saying the only qualifiers will take place in South Africa (SA) and Mauritius in March and April in view of the 2016 Olympic Games set for Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in August.
These events are the South African National Level Three Age Group Championships that will be hosted in Port Elizabeth, SA from 18 to 22 March; SA National Aquatic Championships to be hosted in Durban, SA from 10 to 16 April; and then the Cana Zone Four (IV) Championships that will be held in Beau-Bassin, Mauritius from 20 to 23 April.
Daniela is among very few senior Namibian swimmers in the country who are close to Olympic qualifying times. She is a good breaststroke swimmer and proved this when she clocked impressive times at the 11th edition of All Africa Games in 2015 in Congo, Brazzaville but could not make the Olympic qualification times.
She swam two minutes and 34.23 seconds (02:34.23) in the 200 metre (m) breaststroke. In the 50m breaststroke, she clocked 32.69 seconds, while in the 100 metre (m) breaststroke she recorded one minute and 11.33 seconds (01:11.33).
Sonia said their main target right now is the SA National Aquatic Championships in April.
“We hope to qualify for the Olympic Games,” she said.
For each swimming event at the Olympics, the International Swimming Federation (Fina) had established standard entry times of two types: an Olympic Qualifying Time (OQT/A Time) and an Olympic Selection Time (OST/B Time).
The OST/B Time shall be easier to achieve. Swimmers who achieve the OQT qualify automatically. Fina will then invite athletes who have achieved an OST, until the total quota of 900 is reached.
The 2016 Olympic Games qualifying times are 1:07.85 OQT and 1:10.22 OST for women’s 100m breaststroke; and OQT 01:00.57and OST 1:02.69 for 100m breaststroke men.
In the 200m breaststroke for women is 2:26.94 OQT and 2:32.08 OST, while for men it is 2:11.66 OQT and 2:16.27 OST.
Namibia Swimming Union (NASU) President Bettina Steffen told Nampa on Friday the national championships are indeed not Olympic qualifiers but the event is still crucial in swimmers’ attempts to qualify for Rio.
“Daniela is one of our athletes who can qualify for the Olympic Games but she will now have to swim the Fina A qualifying time twice; that is why it’s important for her to get the qualifying time here at home this weekend and then swim the same time in Durban in April during the 2016 qualifying event to automatically book herself a place at the games in Brazil,” she explained.
Alexander Skinner is another Namibian who stands a chance at qualifying for Rio.
Skinner recently broke four Namibian swimming records in South Africa in the 50m freestyle and 100m freestyle.
He is very close to the Olympic Games 'B' qualifying standards in both events.
He too is competing in the Namibian National Swimming Championships this weekend, and will later compete at the South African Level 3 Gala in Port Elizabeth from 18 March.
As it stands, only three athletes have qualified for the games thus far; they are Dan Craven (cycling), Beata Naigambo (marathon), and Gaby Ahrens (shooting).