Swimmers ready for dip after 20 months

Swimmers ready to take a dive during the national trials held at Greenhill Academy in September. This weekend they compete for their club   Photo / Ismail Kezaala

What you need to know:

  • Swimming. About 20 clubs and more than 200 swimmers will particpate in this weekend’s National Championships having been postponed thrice due to Covid-19 induced lockdown. 

For the first time in 20 months, local clubs will tussle for supremacy in the Uganda Swimming Federation (USF) National Championships at Greenhill Academy – Kibuli.

The three day championship starts today, with swimmers aged 10 and under before 11 and over take over during the weekend.

However, it has been a long time coming and comes with the pressure to make the national team for a regional event that will also be in close quarters.

The last club competition came in 2019 and was a qualifying event for the World Championships in South Korea and Cana Zone III in Kenya that year.

This one will be a qualifier for the Cana Zone III Championships that will be hosted by USF in Kampala from December 9. Fortunately, USF have secured funding for awards and medals for both nationals and Cana Zone III from DStv.

Thrice, the nationals have been postponed due to lockdowns and the need to give swimmers time to make up for time lost as they kept away from swimming pools.

The first effect of that is that some swimmers have been ‘promoted’ to new age groups without competition.
But if anything, the entry of more than 20 clubs and well over 200 swimmers depicts readiness as they all had to beat qualification times to make the grade.

“Once you enter a national competition, you do not look back to create excuses about lost time but you go and perform,” reigning champions Dolphins’ coach Muzafaru Muwanguzi, said.

No execuses 
“And we are ready but also excited to see what other clubs have been up to.”
Training has been on and off for nearly two years but we have had consistency for eight weeks so our mindset is different. Some of the swimmers that were doing top times say in the 11-12 years age group and then advanced, have been training and doing what we expect to be top times in the 13-14 years age group. It is the same in all age groups.”

The other effect of the long layoff for swimming is that some familiar faces will likely be absent – either having moved on from the sport or trying to figure out how to return. Others have simply switched clubs.

Some like Tendo Mukalazi and Kirabo Namutebi have moved to enhance their careers in Russia and will be huge misses.

The World Championships-bound duo will, however, partake in the Russian nationals over the weekend too so some swimmers in their 15 and over age group back home could use their performance as a yardstick to measure their own efforts.

Without some of the household names, some swimmers have an opportunity to announce themselves and grab the headlines at the championship that climaxes Sunday.

USF NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
Today: 10 and Under Events

Morning Session, 9am
50m breaststroke
100m backstroke
4*50m mixed medley relay
800m freestyle
50m freestyle
100m butterfly
4*50m medley relay
200m butterfly
50m backstroke
Afternoon Session, 2pm
100m freestyle
400m freestyle
4*50m mixed freestyle relay
100m individual medley
100m breaststroke
50m butterfly
4*50m freestyle relay

Welcome!

You're all set to enjoy unlimited Prime content.