Hosts Greenhill Academy – Kibuli won their fourth successive and fifth overall crown at the packed Uganda Swimming Federation (USF) Midland Primary Schools Gala by just 60 points on Saturday.
They were challenged all the way by last year’s second runners up Kampala Junior Academy (KJA), who poled 1,506 points in this competitive sixth edition that saw 78 meet records re-set.
“There was a point when I felt it would be difficult (to win),” Greenhill coach Simon Bahemuka told Daily Monitor.
“But then I the afternoon relays brought us back into the game,” he added in the aftermath of a gala that attracted over 400 swimmers from 15 schools on a very sunny Saturday.
There is an unwritten swimming rule that close competition in a points’ championship is beaten during relays. Of the eight afternoon relays, Greenhill beat KJA in five and probably that is where the 60points difference was made.
Greenhill rallied through the efforts of seven year olds Aisha Nansamba, Mohammed Tendai, nine year olds Abigail Mwagale, Shafia Ntabazi, Elisha Karuhanga and Bilquis Nabukenya, 11, among others.
KJA had Adriel Lumu, 9, Paloma Kirabo, Emaad Kodet, both 10, plus a formidable group of swimmers in the 11-12 years age group like Thembo Katende, Terrie Akampa and Tanja Atukunda to thank for their improved performance.
Hillside Naalya’s Zara Mbanga won her five races while King Fahad’s Rahmah Nakasule, Kampala Parents Ryan Barungi and Seeta Junior’s Andrew Mukuye all dominated their age groups to show that the gala was not just about the two dominant schools.
Meanwhile, there is continued still displeasure from Aga Khan, who were not allowed into the competition as they operate both Cambridge and National curriculums.
USF shot themselves a bit in the foot by allowing Entebbe Junior School, who operate the same, but then gala sponsors Midland have always insisted this is a development gala to encourage swimming in national primary schools.
If Aga Khan’s dominance at the Independence Gala over the years is compared to the 70 points Entebbe’s eight swimmers managed at this gala then one can understand USF’s judgement.
HOW THEY FINISHED
Greenhill Academy – 1,566 pts
Kampala Junior Academy – 1, 506
Seeta Junior School – 1,357
Hillside Naalya – 1,094
Kampala Parents School – 827
St. Catherine –Ssonde – 603
Hill Preparatory School – 563
Hormis Nursery & Primary – 286
King Fahad Islamic Primary – 166
Entebbe Junior School – 70
Mother Care Primary School – 67
Katatumba Mem. Academy – 38
Twinbrook School – 35
Kiira Junior School – 25
7 and Under
G: Aisha Nansamba (Greenhill Academy) – 55
B: Mohammed Tendai (Greenhill Academy) – 58
8 Year Olds
G: Zara Mbanga (Hillside Naalya) – 90
B: Andrew Mukuye (Seeta Junior) – 86
9 Year Olds
G: Abigail Mwagale (Greenhill Academy) – 88
B: Adriel Lumu (Kampala Junior Academy) – 86
10 Year Olds
G: Simmona Mulungi (Kampala Parents School) – 86
B: Ryan Barungi (Kampala Parents School) – 82
G: Rahmah Nakasule (King Fahad) – 88
B: Thembo Katende (Kampala Junior Academy) – 90