Last Sunday, Uganda Swimming Federation (USF) held a meeting to brief coaches on what to expect at today national time trials – the first event the body is organising in the midst of this nearly two-year long pandemic – at Greenhill Academy.
At some point, Dolphins coach Muzafaru Muwaguzi raised his hand on the Zoom platform to ask what criteria had been used to summon the swimmers that will contest today for slots in the national teams – that will represent Uganda at the Africa Championships in Ghana next month and the World Championships in Abu Dhabi, UAE – as the last event had been held almost two years ago.
By that time, this reporter had asked on the same platform if the swimmers are ready to fight for what is at stake or if this weekend’s event, which will also have Paralympian Husnah Kukundakwe, among others, share their experiences of keeping active during the pandemic, was just a way to fulfill formality.
Acquatic Day celebrations
USF will also use the event to celebrate the fifth Fina World Aquatic Day but the day will also help with gauging how deep the pandemic has affected the sport.
Some swimmers have left the sport with about three representing underage basketball teams while some have advanced to new age groups without competition.
USF general secretary Max Kanyerezi, deferred Muwanguzi’s question to the technical meeting that would be held on Wednesday but referred to the enthusiasm in his question to reply to questions on whether swimmers are ready.
“You can tell from the questions from the coaches that the swimmers are in good condition,” Kanyerezi said ahead of the event that will have swimmers from just six clubs; Dolphins, Kampala Aquatics, Silverfin, Seals, Makerere University and hosts Greenhill.
The eventy will be broadcast live on USF’s YouTube channel as fans are not permitted to attend.
Ben Kaganda, one of the over 100 summoned swimmers, on Wednesday after their Covid-19 tests at the Uganda Olympic Committee (UOC) offices in Lugogo, said he felt “okay, I shape and ready to swim.”
Earlier, his teammate Adnan Kabuye while training with the team that returns from Serbia, at the ISF (International Schools Foundation) World School Sports Games, this weekend had said “I felt like I was struggling a bit but I should be good (by national trials time)” while Kukundakwe sees them as “the first step towards preparations for the Commonwealth Games” in Birmingham next year.
Coach Tonnie Kasujja, the USF vice president (technical), reading into the numbers of athletes from different clubs and officials in Lugogo, said: “I think everyone is just excited to have and see how the first local event in a very long time goes.
We have had swimmers on the international scene but people just want to see action returning at home. We suspect some swimmers will struggle and others could show marked improvement but we are eager to see it unfold first.”