Dolphins defend national swimming championships

Class. The weekend belonged to swimmers and Dolphins. PHOTO | ISMAIL KEZAALA

Eventually, Dolphins overwhelmed their challengers with large numbers to win their fifth title of six Uganda Swimming Federation National Championships during the rainy weekend at Greenhill Academy, Kibuli.

Dolphins, who managed a total of 5,108 points – more than double the 2,207 second-placed Altona garnered to return to the podium for the first time since 2016 – had a slow start on Friday as the Under-11 competitions were dominated by Altona and Aquatic Academy.

The latter eventually made the overall podium for the first time with 1,815 points.

But coach Muzafaru Muwanguzi and Tonnie Kasujja’s old age strategy of balancing out numbers across age groups remains unmatched despite the fitness struggles some of the swimmers faced.

“Some of the strokes and walls have been shabby but it’s understandable because we’ve just returned (to competitions after two years). They can pick up,” Muwanguzi said during the DStv-sponsored championship at which Dolphins had 67 of the 357 swimmers, including four para-swimmers).

Dolphins’ prowess also showed in the relays on Saturday and Sunday as they won all but two of the 18 contests. The other two; the 13-14-year age group mixed 4x50m medley relay and the 11-12-year girls 4x50m freestyle relay went to Aquatic and Altona. 

Dolphins also had a rare dominance in the middle and long distance events, which previously defined what Seals were all about.

Seals , with 46 swimmers, tried to protect their reputation through John Kafumbe, who did well throughout weekend as he battled against Dolphins Adnan Kabuye, Steve Magera and Shane Birungi, plus Mikka 

Kigundu from Aquatic and Silverfin duo of Ampaire Namanya and Samora Lumonya.

For the girls, Seals fielded Neema Kangi to continue the legacy of her sisters Daya Mpeera and Ssinzi Nabatanzi but she was a lone soldier trying to stop Dolphins’ Swagia Mubiru, Freda Luzinda and Sophia Nagayi, as well as the dominant Aquatic duo of Karimah Katemba and Rahmah Kalungi. 

Middle distance served arguably the most exciting event of the championship when Altona’s Tara Kisawuzi glided from fourth after 150m to win the girls’ 200m breaststroke at the expense of Mubiru, Kalungi and Dolphins’ Martina Antisha on Sunday.

Kisawuzi fed off a new rivalry with Katemba, touching at the same time in the 50m free, then the latter coming on top in six of the other 11 times they faced off.

“We’ve had no competition in a long so it was nice to be out again. We pushed each other hard; I think it makes both of us better,” Katemba said.

Final results

Dolphins 5,108pts

Altona 2,207

Aquatic Acad. 1,815

Jaguars 1,393

Seals 1,265

Silverfin 950

Sailfish 700

Makerere 308

Greenhill Orcas 297

Gliders 250

Olympia 237

Flash 131

Otters 106

Aqua Bombers 63

Malta 30

Marine Sharks 22

Baseline 11