MASERU — National swimmer Boipelo Makhothi says Lesotho needs to hire a coach in order for the country to reach any meaningful heights in swimming.
A fortnight ago a four-strong Lesotho team brought back three bronze medals from the Under-16 Regional Group Championships in Bloemfontein where Makhothi acted as coach.
Ntsike Setho and Tšepo Mafa won bronze in the 100 metres and 50 metres breaststroke respectively, while Lesotho won bronze in the 4×100 metres freestyle relay.
But Makhothi insisted the performance would have been better if the side had a proper coach.
Lesotho’s national swimming set-up has not had a qualified coach since South African Simon Gray left the post in 2005.
“We need a coach. It is that simple,” Makhothi said.
“If we could get a coach then it would make a huge difference.
“I’m not really a coach.
“In all our events we managed to get to the finals but I know they could do so much better.
“Swimming is not like football. For example, you can’t improve by just swimming.
“You need someone with the technical know-how, someone who will be able to work on specific areas that can improve your strokes.”
Lesotho’s swimming also suffers from a lack of facilities.
Currently Lesotho’s national side trains at Lehakoe Cultural and Recreational Centre, but only when they have paid a subscription fee to use the facilities.
Setho, one of the swimmers who did well in Bloemfontein, has automatically qualified for the first Youth Olympic Games to be held in August in Singapore.
It is unclear whether he will have the necessary preparation.
At the end of month the senior team is due to leave for a meet in Mozambique as well but they face the same hurdles.
“We haven’t been told the name of the championships,” Makhothi said.
“We only started training last week so we only have a month to prepare and a month is not enough time.
“They were swimming against people that swim everyday (in Bloemfontein),” Makhothi said.
“Personally I’ve been going to meets for a long time now. My times are still the same for the last four years while my competitors have improved.”