Mhini: Young Tanzanian who got US scholarship through swimming
- The swimmer was among those who competed in the just ended Tanzania National Club Swimming Championships in which he managed to feature in five events and won four gold medals and one silver.
Dar es Salaam. “I did not expected to become a swimmer, but rather a basketball player,” those were the first words of Tanzania’s swimming star, Dennis Mhini, during a recent interview with The Citizen.
Dennis said basketball was his first sport, but when he shifted from Moshi International School to Morogoro International School (MIS) he switched to swimming. He said it was a tough decision, but he had to join the game because by that time it was the major sport in his new school.
“Swimming was the major sport at MIS that had a strong team known as Mis Piranhas. The swimmers of the school were competing in various events that made me start training,” said Dennis during an interview held at the Star Breeze Resort in the Kichangani area of Kigamboni, Dar es Salaam.
He said he slowly started to concentrate on swimming due to the fact that the school had the best teachers and competed in various events in Mainland Tanzania.
He explained that through the game, he managed to win a scholarship to St Felix School in the United Kingdom in 2018 and later joined Quincy University in the United States, where he is still studying.
"I did not believe that swimming pays. People should not concentrate on getting money only... That is a big no. I first won a scholarship to the UK’s St Felix School otherwise, my parents would have paid a lot of money for me. I would say my talent has enabled me to get an education on the cheap.
"After I finished my studies in the UK, my talent also enabled me to join Quincy University, where I am now studying for almost free. Who can afford to pay about $60,000 (about Sh142 million) as university expenses, including accommodation, tuition fees, and other expenses, I am enjoying being featured in the game, it pays," said Mhini.
The swimmer was among those who competed in the just ended Tanzania National Club Swimming Championships in which he managed to feature in five events and won four gold medals and one silver. He said the game has now developed in the country as many swimmers can compete internationally, although they need to increase efforts.
“I was one of the swimmers who represented Tanzania in the 2016 FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) in Ontario, Canada, where it was one of his greatest achievement before featuring in the FINA World Junior Swimming Championships 2017 in Indianapolis, the USA,” he says.
Mhini has also set a number of national records to receive various certificates and win over 100 medals in total (gold/silver/bronze) and trophies in club, national and international events
He swims all the strokes competently, but he enjoys freestyle, backstroke and butterfly the most.
Apart from swimming in which he has developed more interest, Mhini features in other sports including marathon and horse riding from which he has won medals and recognition awards.
He has also shown great talent in acting, with proper training he will surely be a superstar.
He says his dream is to be real “Tanzanian Super Brand” in sports arena and make Tanzania shine again by winning gold medals. He also says he has a vision to run a charitable sports centre, where youths with swimming interest will train to realize their full potentials.
He says since lack of facilities and costs of training are one of the challenges facing the sport in the country, he believes one day he will play his part in the community to see that no talent is wasted, but nurtured.
Mhini assumes that his swimming achievements so far are innate, as his father originates from Lake Tanganyika (the second deepest lake in the world) and his mother from Lake Victoria (the greatest freshwater lake in Africa).