Ssemanda happy with Starlings direction

Learning to fly. Nicole Ainemukama competing in the 10 and under girls' 50m butterfly at the USF Nationals last month. PHOTO/ COURTESY

What you need to know:

The Starlings finished 10th out of 20 clubs with 327.5 points. They also got one silver and five bronze medals.


Coach Mubarak Ssemanda rates his five months old club's performance during last month's Uganda Swimming Federation (USF) National Championships at eight out of 10.


The Starlings finished 10th out of 20 clubs with 327.5 points. They also got one silver and five bronze medals.


"Most of our swimmers were taking part in their first ever championship so we believe that 10th is a position we can build on in the future," Ssemanda shared.


This club based in Nsasa at a swimming pool run by Muhika International School started with just two swimmers and has grown to 38. 


The ambitions are lofty for this coach who represented Altona as a swimmer and also coached at Dolphins until last year when he decided to break out of the shadows of his former bosses 


"Dolphins had taken long without re-opening after sports was given the go ahead to emerge from Covid-19.


The Starlings

-Finished 10th at USF Nationals 2022

Medallists - 10 & Under Age Group 

Silver

 *Sam Walton: Boys 50m breaststroke - 45.96

Bronze

*Leonah Muwaya

Girls 50m breaststroke - 45.31

Girls 100m breaststroke - 1:39.60

*Sam Walton

Boys 100m breaststroke - 1:46.56

*Mixed 4*50m medley relay - 2:58.19

*Girls 4*50m medley relay - 2:53.27


But I was also training a couple of swimmers privately. So with these, I decided after some pressure from a few parents to start up my own club in order to show case my skills," Ssemanda told Sunday Monitor.


Pushing through 

With just five months in, Ssemanda realizes it is no mean feat being a head coach and is bracing himself for the long ride.


"The biggest challenge is getting to make both the swimmers and parents understand how the sport runs.


But the easy part is that, currently, most of our swimmers are in the same age bracket as those I was working with Dolphins. Therefore it is a bit easier to handle their challenges given the experience I am gaining but I know there is more to learn along the way."


Ssemanda also chose a location where he will get the swimmers to grow with organically but the ultimate goal is to follow in the foot steps of his former Altona teammate Latif Kajumbi, who has since established a swimming pool for his club Aquatic Academy. 


"This area has a new developing estate with very many young couples who can do without travelling all the way to the major suburbs in such of pools.


Hopefully, in future, we will have our own home, become a highly competitive club with children who enjoy the sport and have a number of national records to our name." The sky, for them, is the limit.





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