Youngster Namutebi smashes Cana Zone IV 50m free record

Thursday February 21 2019

Setting records. Kirabo Namutebi of Dolphins

Setting records. Kirabo Namutebi of Dolphins competing at a swim meet recently. Photo by Ismail Kezaala.  

By Makhtum Muziransa

Kampala. Kirabo Namutebi is aptly named.
Her name Kirabo translates to ‘gift’ and hers is a talent that keeps on giving; bowing out of the Cana Zone IV Championships that climaxed yesterday in Windhoek, Namibia with two gold, one silver and three bronze medals.
Namutebi’s coach at both club (Dolphins) and national team level Muzafaru Muwanguzi describes her as “one of the most talented girls I have ever seen.”
Muwanguzi, who has masterminded 14 medals from a team of 13, also includes Gloria Muzito – who mostly swims in the Nordic countries –and Olympian Jamila Lunkuse in his list.
On Tuesday night, Namutebi made a new personal best of 27.74 in the 13-14 years girls’50m freestyle to clinch her second gold at the championships. Her first had come hours earlier in the 50m butterfly.
Her new 50m free time was also a championship age group record that significantly sunk the 28.42 managed by Zimbabwe’s Paige van der Westhuizen in 2017.
To understand how much Namutebi has progressed, you need to consider that Westhuizen is 15 now and managed 28.10 in her age group’s 50m free event on Tuesday.
Actually Namutebi’s time was the second best among all girls at Olympia Municipal Pool in Windhoek. Only 16 year old South African Kelsea Munro managed better at 26.95.
The feeling is that by the time she undertakes her next long course gala, probably next year, Namutebi will be able to beat the 27.43 national record (NR) that Jamila Lunkuse made at the Commonwealth Games in 2014.
Meanwhile, team captain Avice Meya, swimming in the 17 and over girls’ age category, also collected two silver (50m fly and 200m fly) and three bronze medals (50m breast, 50m free and 100m free).
Shane Birungi collected Uganda’s other two bronze medals in the 50m and 100m breast events in the 12 and under age group while Hayyan Kisitu, 14, got silver in the 500m open water to add to his four PBs.
Overall, Zaabu Kyabayinze and Birungi led the PB makers with seven new times. Ssanyu Nambeguya had five PBs from six events just one more than her brother Francesco Yiga-Mawano.
Fadhil Saleh also recorded a new PB (25.24) in the 17 and over boys’ 50m free while Namutebi’s brother Tendo Mukalazi, left it late till the 100m free (57.91) to join the PB party.