Recently, the national swimming team finished last at the Africa zone three and four championship in Mozambique.
The terrible performance revealed that we still have a long way to go before we can comfortably hold our own against African powerhouses in the sport, such as South Africa and Botswana.
Sadly though, over the years, it has become almost common for local swimmers to produce shoddy displays on the continental and global stage.
But arguably, what is even more worrying is the indifferent attitude that the local sports fraternity as a whole exhibits towards this embarrassing trend of poor results.
Granted, although admittedly, swimming is a low-profile sport in the country, it is still incumbent upon sports stakeholders to show more concern when any of the sports in the domestic arena is not in rude health.
After all, any country which prides itself on its fervent passion for sports cannot truly be regarded as such if it neglects a particular sport that is in urgent need of serious attention.
One feels then that the Tanzania Swimming Association (TSA), the authorities and local sports fraternity need to join forces in a bid to improve the fortunes of local swimming. A long-term plan towards this end seems like the right course of action to take and this blueprint should encompass ways and means of addressing the challenges which face the sport.
For instance, one major challenge that needs to be overcome is the lack of adequate swimming pools around the country. Arguably though, the negative perception that Tanzania is almost incapable of producing quality swimmers in the mould of say a Michael Phelps, will undoubtedly prove infinitely harder to tackle.
Indeed, it appears that our society needs to be constantly reminded that any country can succeed in whichever sport if and only if it massively invests in the development of the sport in question, which has been sorely lacking as far as local swimming is concerned. Thus, it is hoped that all stakeholders can use the recent disappointing showing of the national swimming team as an opportunity to improve local swimming.
Lloyd Elipokea is a sports