The tenth edition of the Uganda Swimming Federation (USF) Masters’ Gala attracted 67 participants – a sign that many older people are embracing the sport.
These 67 were so determined that they braved nearly two hours of waiting as USF’s competition’s secretary Max Kanyerezi, uncharacteristically, turned up late for the event with the semi-automated timing software.
At about 11:15am, sections of this crowd started chanting “let’s start,” and the organizers succumbed to the pressure starting the women’s 50m freestyle with manual timers. That was not the only disappointment as swimmers also returned home without results, although they managed to get them on Tuesday.
“We are sorry for the technical issues but let that not dampen the mood,” organizer Erick Kisero, who can take the biggest credit for the large turn-up and keeping the swimmers lively, urged.
Indeed when the swimming started, the event moved smoothly that it was even hard to notice that regulars like Latif Kajumbi, Tonnie Kasujja and Matovu were away coaching their clubs that took part in the co Seals League Meet (SLM), competitive swimming competition that climaxed at Kampala Parents School on the same day. At the ninth edition in July, the absentees were so noticeable that the crowd had to be worked up by teaching them water polo.
At competitive level, swimming is a young persons’ sport dominated by teenagers and people in their early 20s. Masters swimming, on the other hand, takes people of various abilities aged 25 upwards, doing it to keep fit while for the vast majority, it boils down to fun.
Hosts Gems Cambridge International School were the most represented with 15 swimmers while Altona Swim Club and British School of Kampala followed with 11 and 9 respectively.