Swimming: Phiri continues scintillating form
SWIMMER Jade Phiri has continued her impressive Commonwealth Games debut with a first place finish in the women’s 50 metres butterfly event on Sunday afternoon.
Although, she failed to proceed to the semi-finals yet again, her performance certainly left a mark for a prodigy swimmer who is just introducing herself to the global stage.
The 16-year-old, who was in lane 3 of the third heat timed 29:15 seconds, on her way to beating seven other swimmers just a day after she finished second in the 50 metres freestyle.
It was a tight finish, with Guernsey’s Molly Staples and Pakistan’s Bisma Khan settling for second and third places on 29:29 seconds and 29.43 seconds, respectively.
Staples commanded the lead in the middle of the pool, but Phiri who started well was barely a fingertip behind as she regained control in the last five metres of the stretch to win.
“I swam that time in Zambia during the CANA Championships, so I didn't expect such a huge personal best, over half a second. Honestly I was truly amazed by the performance.
Asked if she had any pressure, Phiri said: “I’m still quite young, only 16 so I've had no pressure, everyone is like go there and perform and shock everyone else.”
A visibly ecstatic coach Ian Stephenson could barely find words to describe her performance.
“We are ecstatic, over the moon, I've run out of superlatives that flow in my mind thinking about what she did. Seeing her put the Zambian flag on the map was huge, was immense. I think this is exactly what the public expected to see.
In all essence it was a phenomenal performance, she broke her national age group record, she had a personal best. She’s just half a second away from the national record, she was disappointed though if I’m being honest, she wanted to be under the 29 mark.”