Portugal-based Phillip Gomes saved Malawi’s face at the African Swimming Confederation (Cana) Zone IV championship held in Namibia by winning eight medals.
Gomes won gold in 50 metres (m) freestyle, silver in 200m breaststroke, 200m freestyle, 50m butterfly, 400m freestyle and 100m freestyle. He also won bronze in 800m freestyle and 100m breaststroke.
The Malawi team, which returned on Friday, was represented by 11 swimmers, including Thailand-based Ammara Pinto.
The competition attracted swimmers from at least 10 southern African countries.
Gomes relocated to Portugal 10 years ago, but still represents Malawi at swimming competitions.
Reacting to his exploits, he said he was pleased to win the medals, but wished more Malawian athletes succeeded during the competition.
“I feel happy and proud. Of course, I hope in future more Malawian swimmers will win medals,” he said.
Gomes said moving to Portugal has exposed him to intensive training which has kept him in the competitive frame.
“The training is completely different. It is much harder. We have eight training sessions per week. Each session is three hours,” he said.
Gomes said Malawi could have been doing well at international tournaments had it not been that most swimmers give up the sport early.
“I think that the Malawian swimmers quit too early in their career. They must be patient and train hard until their goals are achieved. It took me a long time to get where I am today and I still want to go further each day,” he added.
Malawi Aquatic Union (MAU) vice-president Monica Chang’anamumo said though the other athletes did not win medals they were impressive.
“The rest managed to improve their times tremendously and MAU is happy with the improvements from all the swimmers who participated,” she said.
Chang’anamumo, however, emphasised the need to invest more in the training of the athletes.
“The swimmers have the potential but they need support in terms of resources for training,” she said. n