The last two editions of the Cana Zone III Championships have been hosted in long course (50m) pools. Sudan changed the orientation of the championship when they hosted the fourth edition in Khartoum last year.
That was after Tanzania (2017), Rwanda (2016) and Uganda (2015) hosted short course (25m) Zone III Championships.
Kenya have upheld the experience at the Kasarani Aquatic Centre to the extent that it will look awkward if a country without a long course pool is selected to host next year’s edition.
“There is a short course Fina event (World Championships) in Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) next year so it does not look so bad,” Uganda Swimming Federation (USF) general secretary Moses Mwase, said.
If Uganda hosts, the championship could be viewed as a qualifying event for Abu Dhabi. That could give next year’s edition a bit of oomph. By the way, times made this week at Kasarani can also be reviewed as swimmers like Uganda’s Kirabo Namutebi bid to make it to next year’s Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.
Though Kasarani looks like it could do with more activity and a facelift, it gives a far better long course experience for Namutebi and company than we could dream of right now.
The facility also has a 1.25m deep warm-up pool and for good measure, although it looked scarcely used a diving pool with springboards a high diving platform.
Fortunately, majority of Uganda’s 28 swimmers have swum at Kasarani before – during the Kenya Long Course Swimming Championships that happen every February.
Some have been to the Cana Zone IV Championships, where long course swimming is a given and a couple of international and continental galas. But the experience needs to come closer to home.
Prior to the championships, Team Uganda trained at Speke Resort Munyonyo – which is the closest Uganda has to a 50m pool and the move paid off.
Ian Aziku, who had struggled for fitness at the start of the training camp on November 9 clocked a new personal best 37.02 to win gold in the 50m breaststroke event of the 11-12 years boys’ age group.
Looking at the facility on Thursday, Mwase muttered; “our years (as USF executive officers) are fast spent but we must leave such a facility in Uganda.”