Gators elite class ‘eat’ rivals at swimming Nationals

Gators Swim Club Kampala members celebrate with their awards after emmerging winner of the Seventh USF National Age Group Swimming Championships 2022 at Greenhill Academy.Photo/Ismail Kezaala

Gators showed incredible prowess in the 15 and over age group to win the 7th edition of the Uganda Swimming Federation (USF) Club Championships held over the weekend at Greenhill Academy, Kibuli. 

Over 45.5 percent of Gators’ total 3,122.5 points were collected in the top age group with the eight women they had there raking in a combined 692 individual points while the 12 men had 623. 

The other 108 for the side that broke away from Dolphins in April and now swims at Elite Swim and Gym, Ntinda came from relays. 

“It was our first event as newcomers and we had to push each other to make it happen,” Tendo Mukalazi, who collected 157 individual points, said. 

His sister Kirabo Namutebi, 144 points, added that “the many races helped put in some yards ahead of the Commonwealth Games.” 

Namutebi looked relaxed even though her younger friends; Altona’s Tara Kisawuzi, 13, and Karimah Katemba, 14, bettered her 1:03.20 in the 100 freestyle with 1:02.58 and 1:02.79 respectively. 

But when she got the chance to race them in the open races; 200m breaststroke, 200 and 400m free, Namutebi was easily dominant. Kisawuzi and Katemba also served a rivalry of their own that was made better by the presence of the latter’s teammate Rahmah Nakasule. 

Fight for lower age groups

None of the other 19 clubs had such dominance over an age group but Gators’ podium rivals; Altona, who finished second with 2,113 overall points, and Dolphins, third with 1,652 – hardly competed in the top age group. 

Dolphins’ five swimmers in the age group pooled 173.5 individual points and 29 from relays. Their podium finish was pushed by the more commendable performances of their 13-14 years boys. 

Altona, who looked to have Aquatics as rivals before Dolphins pipped the latter by 110.5 points to the podium, got only two individual points courtesy of female swimmer Divine Kalungi and 79 from the top age group relays. 

Coach Erick Kisero’s side were most dominant in the 11-12 years girls’ age group with Abigail Mwagale, Paula Nabukeera, both 11, plus Sonia Mwere, Tasha Kisawuzi and Shafia Ntabazi, all 12, among the top 10 swimmers that also included Gators’ Paloma Kirabo, Sailfish’s Karen Mwangi and Jaguars’ Peyton Suubi. 

Altona continued to go hard in the lower age groups but Ethan Kunihira, 10, and female counterpart Yeta Magola met their matches in Flash’s Jerome Matsiko and Jaguar’s Zara Mbanga, who collected the most individual points (162) from the championship. 

Coach Olivier Nalwadda 10 and under Jaguars were so impressive that four of them were in the top 10 in the age group even though the entire club was relegated to 8th, just 35 points behind Sailfish, from 4th last year. Even debutants The Starlings’ top 10 overall finish, with 327.5 points was propelled by their 238 from this lower age group.

National Swimming Club Championships

How They Finished

Gators – 3,122.5

Altona – 2,113

Dolphins – 1,652

Aquatic Academy – 1,541.5

Silverfin – 1,055

Seals – 1,004

Sailfish – 869

Jaguar – 834

Flash – 377.5

The Starlings – 327.5

Tornados – 313

Gliders – 189

Makerere University – 80

Supra – 77

Otters – 73.5

Greenhill Orcas – 58

Aqua Bombers – 57.5

Hertz – 15

Whales – 7

Unranked: Twinbrook

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