Swimming duo return, happy to share knowledge

Work. Mukalazi putting in the laps at Aga Khan Pool in Kololo recently. PHOTO/MAKHTUM MUZIRANSA

What you need to know:

  • The siblings will be home at least until September when they expect to enroll to college.

Kirabo Namutebi feels her improvement, on a scale of one to 10, is “a solid nine” after spending 11 months at the Fina Development Centre in Kazan, Russia on a swimming scholarship. 

Namutebi was with her brother Tendo Mukalazi and their improvement over a host of Russian, African, European and international galas in that period was very clear.

For example for 50m freestyle, Namutebi left Uganda last April with a national long course record of 26.98 seconds made in mid-2019. But she struggled to keep under 27 seconds and with next to no training over the Covid period, her form was bound to dovetail.

However, a year in Russia has solidified her 26 putting her national record at 26.26. Her short course one is 25.84. For Mukalazi who left Kampala as a sure 25 for 50 free, Kazan unearthed a 23.56 national record in the long course and a 22.99 in the short course.

“We had more sessions in the pool, gym, and covered a lot more distance in the pool so consciously I am getting better,” Namutebi, who returned to the country on Thursday, said.In the same period, she represented Uganda at the Olympics, World Championships and alongside Tendo became the first Ugandans to take part in the World Cup. “The other thing they had is top facilities. Our top priority to improve should be facilities. 

But also in terms of sports management; we had nutritionists, physiotherapists and people who look at every aspect of the sport. 

That is something we lack here so we need to train twice as hard to compete with the best,” Namutebi observed.

What next

The Plan. The siblings will be home at least until September when they expect to enroll to college. Their mother, former Uganda Volleyball Federation president, Hadijah Namanda acknowledges the job on her hands to keep them in top shape.

But even though they are back a month earlier than scheduled, Namanda is relieved to have them out of the uncertainty that hovers over Russia.

At a glance 
Names: Tendo Mukalazi & Kirabo Namutebi
Age: 19, 16 respectively
Parents: Tom Mpuuja, Hadijah Namanda
Club: Dolphins
Major races: 50m free, 100m free
Major events: World Championships, World Cup in Kazan, Africa Championships, Cana Zone IV, Cana Zone III

*Namutebi has also competed at the Olympics


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