Kirsty Coventry launches academy

Collin Matiza Sports Editor
ZIMBABWE’S most decorated female swimmer Kirsty Coventry has launched an academy. The 31-year-old and two-time Olympic Games gold medallist announced from her base in Charlotte, North Carolina, United States, that she has decided to set up the Kirsty Coventry Academy, whose main goal is to save lives “by decreasing drowning incidents”.

Writing on her Facebook wall yesterday, Coventry said: “I am very pleased to officially announce the launch of the Kirsty Coventry Academy. This is an initiative that is very close to my heart.

“The goal of the Kirsty Coventry Academy is to save lives by decreasing drowning incidents.

“We aim to achieve this by utilising water-safety and drowning prevention campaigns, as well as learn-to-swim programmes.

“The Kirsty Coventry Academy is a non-profit organisation.”

Coventry, however, did not say where this academy will be based.

“Through water-safety and drowning prevention campaigns as well as learn-to-swim programmes we can save lives and promote opportunities and development.”

The seven-time Olympic Games medallist has of late been involved in a lot charity work after having been appointed by Econet Zimbabwe as their official Brand Ambassador in July 2004.

Coventry is also now writing for Forbes Africa magazine.

“This is an incredibly influential magazine showcasing amazing stories from some of Africa’s top business people, leaders and ground-breaking entrepreneurs,” Coventry said.

The Zimbabwean swimming icon has been training in Charlotte for almost nine months now, preparing for the 2016 Rio Games and she said the community there has been very supportive and welcoming. My training is going well but more importantly I’m happy.

“In return, I am proud to support the Pinky Swear Foundation (in Charlotte),” Coventry said.

“The Pinky Swear Foundation aims to ease the financial and emotional impacts experienced by children with cancer and their families by providing basic needs support and unique programmes during a very challenging time.”

Coventry has competed in four Olympic Games, winning a record seven medals for Zimbabwe – two golds, four silvers and one bronze.

Coventry has also broken seven world records, has been nominated as the African Swimmer of the Year on five separate occasions and then her most recent tribute has seen her elected as a member of the International Olympic Committee where she will serve for an eight-year term.

She sits on a number of commissions: Athletes Commission, Olympic Solidarity, World Anti-Doping Agency and Co-ordination Commission for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Not stopping there, Coventry has committed to compete in her fifth consecutive Olympic Games at the 2016 Rio Games in Brazil in what could be another record for the gifted Zimbabwean athlete.

She is one of the beneficiaries of the Olympic Solidarity Scholarships for the Rio Games which were late last year awarded to 10 Zimbabwean athletes.

Coventry left Zimbabwe for the United States in July 2004 to train for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.