The top 16 swimmers for each event per age category face off today in the second edition of the DStv National Sprints Gala at GEMS Cambridge International School, Butabiika.
Last year’s gala saw 19 national age group records obliterated especially by Kirabo Namutebi (13-14 years) and Karla Mugisha (11-12 years), who now face off in the 13-14 year’s age group.
Over the course of the year, swimmers have set their standards higher if performances from previous local and international galas are anything to go by. And they are because they make the selection sample space for this invitational gala.
Better national records have been set and it will be interesting to see how far the swimmers can go in setting new ones at the adrenaline-filled gala.
Amelia Mudanye’s times show she should comfortably dominate the 10 and under girls. But that particular age group will have an interesting side-show between eight year olds Shalom Birungi and Abigail Mwagale.
Isabelle Magezi and Isabel Angemi should push Dolphins’ duo of Karimah Katemba and Michelle Sine especially in the 50m backstroke in the 11-12 years girls’ age group.
The boys are more competitive in the 13-14 years age group, where John Kafumbe leads Shane Birungi, Joshua Lumonya, Hayyan Kisitu, Steve Magera and others in challenging Paulsen Settumba and Tendo Kaumi’s duopoly.
For the girls in that one, Kirabo Namutebi seems to be operating in her own league even when she cannot muster personal bests like at last weekend’s Silverfin Championship.
Meanwhile, Swagiah Mubiru seems to have ceded ground to Neema Kangi and Karla Mugisha in the pursuit to be the next hottest prospect in the 13-14 years’ age group.
For the senior girls, it seems to be a case of marked territories. Alexis Kituuka has the best times for the 100m individual medley but Selina Katumba will be breathing down her neck.
Katumba will be hard to challenge in the 50m freestyle while Mercedes Mwebeiha is proving to be the butterflyer and backstroker to beat. Interesting she also has the best entry time (37.21) for 50m breaststroke.
For the boys’ Tendo Mukalazi has marked the freestyle, IM and breaststroke as his, only allowing Adnan Kabuye and Ben Kaganda a chance to rival him in the backstroke and butterfly events. But his ambition is to maintain swimming under 25s in the 50m free while he also chases a time under 31s in the 50m breaststroke.
DSTV NATIONAL SPRINTS GALA
AGE GROUP RECORDS SET LAST YEAR
10 & UNDER
100 IM Carlton Musenze (1:24.03)
50 breast Jordan Ssamula (42.21)
50 back Jordan Ssamula (38.19)
50 fly Karimah Katemba (37.98)
100 IM John Kafumbe (1:15.05)
50 breast John Kafumbe (38.27)
100 IM Karla Mugisha (1:14.88)
50 breast Karla Mugisha (37.72)
50 back Karla Mugisha (35.51)
50 fly Karla Mugisha (33.75)
50 free Neema Kangi (29.87)
100 IM Francesco Kagugube (1:08.45)
50 breast Francesco Kagugube (33.24)
100 IM Kirabo Namutebi (1:09.79)
50m breast Kirabo Namutebi (35.48)
50m back Kirabo Namutebi (32.11)
50 fly Kirabo Namutebi (30.66)
15 & Over
50 breast Avice Meya (37.71)
50 back Zara Nsubuga (31.80)