Sailfish ace much needed Masters Gala

Podium. Representatives from; second runners up Malta's Dereck Sigowa (in black), winners and hosts Ambrosoli Sailfish's Joseph Kabogoza and Vivian Namyaalo (maroon) and Formidables' Peter Ssebanakitta (yellow) show off their trophies on the podium. PHOTOS/RASHID MATOVU 

What you need to know:

The event held at Ambrosoli International School in Bugolobi was much needed for the masters swimmers (aged 25 and above), who have been reliant on only the annual Uganda Swimming Federation (USF) event for competition.

Hosts Ambrosoli Sailfish’s team of 51 showed steadfastness at the won the inaugural Sailfish Masters Swimming on Saturday with 2537.5 points ahead of Formidables (2,065) and Malta (1446).

The event held at Ambrosoli International School in Bugolobi was much needed for the masters swimmers (aged 25 and above), who have been reliant on only the annual Uganda Swimming Federation (USF) event for competition.

It attracted 72 female swimmers and 98 men with the hosts also showing superiority in the medal count with 137 medals compared to Formidables’ 94 and Dolphins’ 43.

“Swimming has been so much into the children but we need to encourage older people to keep in the water,” Sailfish coach and swimmer Joseph Kabogoza, said.

“The kids have so many opportunities, almost every month has a meet for kids yet masters swimming is also growing rapidly. We are proud to be the first club to host a masters event. We are trying to promote a healthy lifestyle among adults through swimming so this is going to be an annual event,” he added. His message was backed up by the head of Ambrosoli, Emma Norris, who said there has been an increase of physical and mental health concerns since the Covid-19 pandemic.

Battle for honours

Kabogoza, a national swimmer in his hey days, also proved that he is still got it as he battled for honours against his coaching colleagues and swimming enthusiasts like teammates Jonathan Musana and William Mulopa, Dolphins’ Yuda Morris Ssekamatte, Aquatics’ Latif Kajumbi and Makerere University’s Thomas Tamale among others in the 35-39 years age group. Ssekamatte topped the age group and was followed by Kabogoza and Muloopa.

In the 35-39 women’s category, the hosts’ Frances Wallace topped Malta’s duo of Esther Kuc and Patience Atumanya while female coaches Olivia Nalwadda (Formidables), Kezia Wairimu (Our Saviour) and Catherine Nakimuli (Formidables) also battled in the 30-34 age group finishing in that order. Rogers Sabiti (Ambrosoli), Simeon Busuulwa and Chitumba Kanchela (Formidables) topped the 30-34 men.

Rachael Galinda (Malta) rewinded years of active swimming to garner 135 points and finish ahead of Rashidah Najjuma (Aquatics) and Molly Kandiho. Calvin Katerega (Aquatics with 104 points), Ivan Muhoozi (Friends of Water, 99) and Regan Iga (Formidables, 64.5) topped the 25-29 men.

Reward for excellence. Ambrosoli  Sailfish swimmers show off the fruits of their hard work after organising and winning the Sailfish Masters Swimming Gala on Saturday. 

Role models

Dolphins’ Emejeit Mbabazi and Sophia Nantongo dominated the 40-44 women while the hosts’ Anders Hansen, Dereck Sigowa (Malta) and Henry Kakooza (Formidables) topped the men.

Patience Birungi (Dolphins, 102) finished ahead of Jeroline Akubu (Gators, 88) in the 45-49 women’s group while Formidables teammates George William Mukasa (121.5) and Dunstan Rukare topped the men.

Only eight points separated Patricia Ejalu (122) and Ambrosoli teammate Romina Koehler in the 50-54 women while their male teammate Joost Oeganda (128) was 40 points clear of Dolphins’ Swalleh Ssenteza.

Uganda Olympic Committee chairman Donald Rukare topped the 55-59 men with 132 points – 16 clear of his former USF vice president Peter Mugisha. Ambrosoli teammates McClean Tambu, 61, and Wendy Kiar, 67, faced no competition in the 60 and over women’s age group.

While for the men, it was a battle of 67 year olds that was topped by the hosts’ Diarmuid Mcclean ahead of Formidables teammates Peter Ssebanakitta and Charles Obwana plus Malta’s evergreen coach Collins Wasswa Matovu.

“I am not a professional and it has been a bit intimidating but fun. The most important thing is that I tried and hopefully, I can now be a role model and show the kids at school that they do not have to give up,” Sara Ruzickova, a Czech representing Ambrosoli, said.

Sailfish Masters Swimming Gala

Medal Count

Team                           G         S          B

Ambro-Sail                 57        46        34

Formidables                41        30        23

Dolphins                     11        16        16

Malta                           9          13        12

Aquatic                       7          11        4

Friends Of Water        6          0          0

Gators                         5          3          2

Our Saviour                2          3          3

Makerere University   1          2          10

Flash                           1          1          3

Otters                          0          3          5


Ambrosoli Sailfish – 2537.5 points

Formidables – 2065

Malta – 1446

Dolphins – 1125.5

Aquatic – 491.5

Makerere University – 310

Gators – 175.5

Our Saviour – 159.5

Otters – 136