Beyond the stellar individual performances from some leading swimmers, there was something the entire fraternity can celebrate from the Dolphins Fast and Furious Gala held on Saturday at GEMS Cambridge International School – Butabiika.
That’s the growth of the sport. About 605 swimmers from an unprecedented 21 clubs entered the one-day sprints championships.
The numbers, which are a good problem to have, did not sound alarming till we had to contend with 14 heats of 25m backstroke and 16 of 25m freestyle in the 8 and under age group.
The worry though is that the warm-up sessions looked so crowded that they had to be done in bits to accommodate all the clubs.
Fortunately, the organisers acknowledge that it is probably time to hold the event over two days.
Individually, Kirabo Namutebi – who had to fly out to Tunisia for Wednesday’s Cana Junior Championships in the aftermath of the gala – threw caution to the wind as she managed two meet records in the 13-14 years girls’ 50m breast (34.79) and 50m free (26.54).
Her eight year old Dolphins teammate Shalom Birungi was probably the best performing junior swimmer with four meet records – fending off competition from Jaguar’s exciting prospect Zara Mbanga and Altona’s Abigail Mwagale.
The Tunisia-bound trio of Paulsen Settumba, Tendo Kaumi, Arthur Tayebwa and Silverfin’s Joshua Lumonya ensured the excitement from previous years does not desert the boys’ 13-14 years age group.
But it is the close contests between Dolphins’ Shane Birungi and Seals’ John Kafumbe that have the potential to translate into a good rivalry if the time’s the latter is shedding off are anything to go by. Birungi is the better breaststroker while Kafumbe is way better with backstroke and butterfly.
The latter at 28.80 was, however, just microseconds ahead of Birungi’s 28.94 in the 50m freestyle.
The 15 and over age group had a number of absentees but that did not stop Alexis Kituuka from grabbing a meet record and personal best in the 100m individual medley (1:12.02) and Daya Yalonda Mpeera in the 50m backstroke (33.67).
8 years and Under
G: Shalom Birungi (Dolphins) – 45 points
B: Ssango Kigundu (Dolphins) – 41
G: Amelia Mudanye (Seals) – 45
B: Ethani Ssengooba (Dolphins) – 39
G: Michelle Sine (Dolphins) – 39
B: John Kafumbe (Seals) – 42
G: Kirabo Namutebi (Dolphins) – 45
B: Paulsen Settumba (Dolphins) – 42
15 and over
G: Selina Katumba (Silverfin) – 38
B: Tendo Mukalazi (Dolphins) – 43