Kirabo Namutebi is hitting form at the right time.
On Sunday, the 16-year-old swimmer, who is now based in Kazan, Russia, on a Fina development scholarship, clocked 27.04 seconds in the 50m freestyle to win silver in the junior category at the Golden Orlando Swim Meet in Dubrovnik, Croatia.
The time is not Namutebi’s personal best and national record of 26.90 but shows she is edging closer to her best after spending 2020 inactive.
But before the 2020 nationwide lockdown that hit sports hard, she had been to the Cana Zone IV Championships, where she won gold in 50m free at 27.07.
Since the event in Croatia came in the midst of heavy training, there is every chance Namutebi will do even better in Japan, where she is also expected to do her tapering from.
Also in Dubrovnik, on Saturday, she showed the Fina camp training is working for her by setting a new national record in the 100m freestyle with a 1:00.48.
Namutebi beat a seven-year standing record of 1:01.25 – set by a then 16-year-old Jamila Lunkuse in Barcelona, Spain, during the 2013 World Championships.
Namutebi was accompanied by her brother Tendo Mukalazi to both Kazan and Dubrovnik.
Mukalazi was also in top form breaking into 24 seconds in the 50m freestyle for the first time in a highly-rated competition and recording a new personal best of 54.75 seconds from 55.16 in the 100m freestyle.
Mukalazi clocked 24.90 in 50m freestyle but says he made 24.80 a week ago at a competition in Kazan.
“I believe, if I had come in January as earlier planned I’d be making 23 (seconds). So this is just the beginning,” Mukalazi said in a social media chat.
In 2019, Kirabo Namutebi beat the national record time of 27.43 in the 50m freestyle set by Jamila Lunkuse at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. Then, at the Africa Juniors, she won Uganda’s first ever continental gold medals – in the 50m freestyle (27.33) and breaststroke (35.13) events.