Zimbabwean 15-year-old dazzling swimmer, Donata Katai (DK) who won gold last week for Zimbabwe at the African Junior Swimming Championships in Tunisia says that Kirsty Coventry’s achievements give her a little pressure.
Katai who goes to Getway High School won gold in the 100m backstroke and set a championship record of 1minute 43 seconds. She told @UKinZimbabwe (UKZ) that she aspires to win big at the Olympics since she has proved her quality in Arica. Below are excerpts from the interview.
UKZ: Tell us a bit about yourself
DK: My name is Donata Katai, I’m 15 years old. I go to Gateway High School and train with the Sharks Club under the guidance of coach Kathy Lobb.
UKZ: When did you realize swimming was the sport you were good at?
DK: It was in Grade 3 when I broke my first record at the inter-house competitions.
UKZ: How do you prepare yourself for a big race?
DK: I imagine the race from start to finish and go through all the emotions I would go through on the day. I rehearse the whole event in my mind. I eat a meal with lots of carbs, sleep and dream about my race.
UKZ: What does winning gold mean for you?
DK: It justifies that I am a fast swimmer. I knew I was a fast swimmer in Southern Africa, but to win gold at a competition with all the best swimmers in Africa is even better.
At what point in the pool did you realise you were leading?
DK: It was towards the very end when I took a naughty little peek to see.
UKZ: What goes through your mind during a race?
DK: It is funny to think about it. It’s usually the last song I would have listened to, but just one line on repeat.
UKZ: What is your biggest dream?
DK: My biggest dream is to win gold at the Olympics.
UKZ: What can you say are the challenges you face?
DK: Trying to balance swimming and school has been quite a challenge because studying after practice is hard. It is a challenge girls my age face especially if you do more than one sport. It’s difficult to be great at your main sport and keep the others going.
UKZ: Does it bother you when people compare you to Kirsty Coventry (Olympic gold medallist and Zimbabwe’s Sports Minister)?
DK: It doesn’t really bother me because Kirsty is a great person, it shows all my hard work is paying off. But when I look at her achievements I feel a little pressure.
More: UK in Zimbabwe